Company fined, agrees to not participate in guest worker program for three years

Thursday, June 9, 2011 at 3:31pm

The landscaping company accused last summer of violating terms of a federal guest worker program has been fined $18,000 and has agreed to not participate in the program for three years.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that Vanderbilt Landscaping LLC failed to properly recruit and place H-2B guest workers as well as accurately specify the reasons for needing such workers. Those violations resulted in $18,000 in penalties.

Originally, the department’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification notified Vanderbilt Landscaping (which is not affiliated with Vanderbilt University) that it intended to debar the company from participating in the program. But before that could happen, the parties reached a settlement agreement last week.

As part of the settlement, and without admitting guilt, Vanderbilt Landscaping — which is headquartered in Mason, Tenn., and has a satellite office in Smyrna — agreed to not apply for any H-2B guest workers for three years.

A group of Mexican guest workers filed a federal lawsuit against the company and its principals in March, alleging that the company took their visas and intimidated them into working amidst poor conditions.

A statement from Vanderbilt Landscaping’s attorney, provided by company spokeswoman Deborah Varallo, called the issues raised by the Department of Labor “alleged technical violations” of the guest worker program. The statement continued, “While the Company had valid legal arguments contrary to the allegations raised by the DOL, it agreed to pay the relatively minor fine and to voluntarily sit out of the [H-2B] program in order to put this matter behind them so that it could return its focus to running the business. As is reflected in the agreement resolving the matter with the DOL, Vanderbilt Landscaping continues to deny any wrongdoing.”

The H-2B guest worker program allows companies to bring foreign workers into the U.S. so that they may work temporary, nonagricultural jobs, which are usually seasonal and for which insufficient numbers of American workers can be found.

6 Comments on this post:

By: Kosh III on 6/10/11 at 8:09

In essence, they were fined a "minor" amount and will just do like other landscaping companies: hire illegal aliens.

By: Funditto on 6/10/11 at 8:52

It's a start. I've always said these are the folks that draw illegal aliens. Now lets go after the housewives that hire the nannies and maids.

By: iTiSi on 6/10/11 at 9:40

About time these companies started paying some consequences for their actions. Alabama has the right ideas, maybe they will all go to California now, since they are giving them college money, and then we can just give CA to Mexico. There are several landscaping companies in Nashville loaded with illegal immigrants. The article says" there are insufficient American workers to do the jobs". That's "hogwash, baloney, BS, and hooey-pooey" !!! Pay more and you will get workers. So you have to charge more for your services, so be it, that's the way it works in America. Why do you think autos are so expensive? Because all those union employees are being paid so much, along with benefits. Yet people still buy them. These owners are just greedy!!!

By: budlight on 6/10/11 at 1:22

Funditto on 6/10/11 at 9:52
It's a start. I've always said these are the folks that draw illegal aliens. Now lets go after the housewives that hire the nannies and maids.

Wouldn't that include some of the rich folks over there in West and East Nashville? Be careful what you wish for funditto.

By iTiSi "That's "hogwash, baloney, BS, and hooey-pooey" !!! Pay more and you will get workers. So you have to charge more for your services, so be it, that's the way it works in America"

ITiSi, I think folks are willing to do an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. Many people work for less than they deserve; less than they want; less than they should be paid, but they still have a job. In our economy, it's an "employer's market" and in my case, I'm happy if I can get $7.50 an hour. I'm trained in a career where I can make $75.00 an hour. However, I'm not able to work in my trained career so I will settle for a $7.50 job when I can get one.

By: Xemo on 6/10/11 at 4:30

Employers are the secret to controlled immigration. Anything else is symtomatic relief.

By: Funditto on 6/11/11 at 12:12

It would include MOST of the people in Belle Meade and Brentwood. So be it.