Legal Blog


H-1B Season is Upon Us! Hiring and Keeping Foreign Graduates As you scrape the ice off your windows and get into your car sipping on that nice warm cup of coffee on your morning drive, your mind wanders to how you can keep that sensational foreign worker you hired a couple of months ago. The worker just graduated from a local university and has an employment authorization card to work, but what next? Well, there are a few key issues to keep in mind when figuring out whether to take the next step: 1- The Job Description – A lot of companies don’t have job descriptions for even key positions, but it is important for immigration that you decide exactly what the worker will be doing and if the position requires a bachelor’s degree. If a bachelor’s is required then you may be able to keep him or her on an H-1B visa. 2- Start Early – The first date to submit an application for an H-1B is April 1st of every year, with a start date of October 1st. Don’t wait until April 1st to look into it, because the H-1B visa is capped and the cap may be reached on the first day of submissions. 3- Money, Money, Money – Figure out how much you are willing to pay the worker. Sometimes this is a showstopper. The Department of Labor has a prevailing wage that MUST be met and normally it is higher than what you are used to paying workers. Decide what you are willing to pay if you need to increase the pay. 4- Posting the Job – Realize that you will need to post the position and the pay to other workers. Many companies are not comfortable with this since normally it is a higher pay, but it is a requirement for immigration and sometimes a range of pay being posted can solve the problem. 5- Be Patient! – Immigration is a marathon NOT a sprint. Nothing moves quickly, but if it’s the right person for the job, patience is a virtue. 6- Hire An Attorney – Okay so this sounds like self-promotion but seriously, having a good immigration attorney can make all the difference. There are so many nuances to immigration law that a well-seasoned attorney will know how to navigate the system to your advantage. So, seek one out and focus on your business. Share...

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The Case for Keeping the Company Christmas Party In the era of political correctness, the only type of party you may be going to this Christmas season is the “Holiday” Party. It seems a mere 20 years ago that there was no such thing as a “Holiday” party. So, why have companies been so quick to kill the Christmas party? I believe it stems from our ever expanding governmental influence into the private sector and probably the fear of being sued. The Establishment Clause, the First Amendment, which is the basis for most of the legal battles regarding religious freedom, however, states as follows: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. The key here is to remember that the First Amendment is ensuring that the “government” does not establish or restrict religion and, therefore, ensuring religious freedom for the rest of us. The line of Supreme Court cases attempt to clarify the reach of the Establishment Clause by restricting public entities’ ability to display religious signs/symbols or be involved in religious activities during the Christmas season, although sometimes not so uniformly (Florey v. Sioux Falls School District , Lynch v. Donnelly, Allegheny County v. ACLU, Capitol Square Review Board v. Pinette, Bauchman v. West High School). Then there is the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) that prevents religious discrimination. Religious discrimination involves treating a person, such as an employee, unfavorably because of his or her religious beliefs. It has not been determined, to my knowledge, through any legal precedent that having a Christmas party is a discriminatory act. Yet, it seems that employers are fearful of offending anyone if they have a Christmas party and, therefore, instead opt for a Holiday party. But why is something joyful considered offensive? Our litigious environment and the standards placed upon public entities probably are to blame for the death of the Christmas party by private companies. So, why keep the corporate Christmas party? Christmas is celebrated by millions of people across the globe as the birth of Jesus. Christmas, December 25th, is a national holiday in the United States. Christmas is a season of giving and of love, demonstrating Christian values. Companies can still exercise religious freedom and demonstrate some of their values by celebrating Christmas and calling it what it is. “Merry Christmas” is just that – Merry. And anyone who takes offense to that should really do some self-examination as to why...

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