MLF Attorney Brian Green Speaks at ABA Conference20 Nov 2013
Leadership in law and a commitment to legal scholarship are among the many things that set Murthy Law Firm lawyers apart from the run of practitioners. Regular and rigorous continuing legal education is an integral part of our law practice, and our attorneys are frequently called upon to share their knowledge at professional meetings and conferences.
Brian Green, a Supervising Attorney in MLF’s Special Projects department, spoke at the American Bar Association’s (ABA) 7th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference, held in New Orleans earlier this month. Mr. Green shared the podium with several eminent human rights lawyers, including the Honorable P. David Lopez, General Counsel of the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The panel addressed Causes of Action for Workplace Abuse of Immigrant Workers. Mr. Green also co-authored a paper on these issues, Immigration Action – The Civil Side of Employing Foreign Nationals, which was published in the ABA conference materials.
It was a timely discussion, one that’s been especially salient in recent months, as EEOC has stepped up enforcement of laws that protect workers from discrimination on the basis of national origin, and other grounds related to immigration. Recent media coverage has shed light on flagrant abuses in the agricultural and construction sectors, among workers whose lack of legal immigration status makes them particularly vulnerable: farm laborers who were raped by their supervisors, foreign workers whose passports are confiscated by their employers, people held in debt slavery until the recruiter, who promised a lucrative job overseas, is paid off. That’s not the whole story, Mr. Green cautioned. High-skilled H1B workers also have been victimized by unscrupulous recruiters and employers.
The lesson here is that even employers who hire workers through legitimate channels must take special care to avoid liability for workplace abuses. According to Mr. Green, contract employment – common in the tech sector – gives rise to complex, multi-layered business relationships, and it’s especially important for main- and mid-level contractors to watch carefully for signs of abusive practices by their subcontractors. For instance, if a subcontractor’s bid is much lower than most others, it may be a sign that employment rules are being skirted in order to gain a competitive advantage.
Assistance is available to companies that want to comply with U.S. immigration laws, avoiding problems that may arise from pushing the legal envelope. Call to schedule a compliance review. Mr. Green and his Murthy Law Firm colleagues stand ready.
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