H-1B Immigrants Face Lawsuits from Employers

People from countries like India are often recruited by computer or IT employers to immigrate to the U.S. to work. Many such H-1B immigrants are unaware of the dangers of entering into contracts with such employers. Many computer or IT employers use questionable or unethical tactics to try to force H-1B immigrants into contracts of indentured servitude. The following pattern is being repeated over and over again. A computer or IT employer offers an H-1B immigrant an employment contract, while he is still living in India. The computer or IT employer offers to sponsor and pay for the H-1B visa application. Once the visa is granted, the H-1B Indian immigrant arrives in the United States. As soon as the H-1B Indian immigrant arrives, the computer or IT employer changes the deal. The computer or IT employer puts the Indian immigrant in a room and has several employees confront him in intimidating fashion with a different contract. This different contract requires prolonged service to the company and imposes penalties if the employee resigns too soon. The Indian immigrant can either sign the new contract or return to India. He then signs it feeling that he has no choice. After the Indian immigrant signs the new contract, he then finds a better paying job and leaves the IT employer. The IT employer then sues him for breach of contract for leaving to early.

H-1B immigrants can sometimes win lawsuits against IT employers, when they can show that the employer has acted in bad faith or has used unethical tactics. Additionally, H-1B immigrants may have claims against the IT employer including for fraudulent inducement. IT employers hope that the immigrant will not have the resources to fight a lawsuit.

To prevent becoming the victim of such unethical tactics, H-1B immigrants should insist upon having a provision in the original contract that the contract will not be changed or terminated upon entry into the U.S. or for, at least, a period thereafter. Such immigrants should retain copies of all important documents. Copies of documents need to be retained in the event the IT employer denies the existence of any pre-existing contracts. If an H-1B immigrant is already being sued for breach of contract, it is important to seek legal representation so that the unethical tactics can be exposed and a possible counter suit filed.

Ronald J. Wronko