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Did a Company Recruit You to Work in the United States? Do You Feel Trapped at Your Job in the U.S.?

Did a company help you get a visa and travel to the United States for a job, in a field such as nursing, health care, technology, engineering, construction, or biology? When you got to the United States, was the job different from what you expected? For example, did you experience difficult or harmful working conditions, but you felt like you had to stay to pay off a debt, to avoid a penalty you couldn’t afford, or to keep your legal status? Or did you find out that the job was much lower paying than you had been told, or feel that your education and training made you overqualified for the work you were being asked to do?

Staffing agencies sometimes make false promises when they recruit people abroad to lure them to come to the United States. They can also use pressure tactics to keep an employee working for a company even though they want to leave. For example, the agency may threaten to deport or sue the employee for tens of thousands of dollars if the employee quits before completing their contract term, but at the same time the agency may make it extremely difficult to complete those hours—it may pay a low salary, give little time off, and place someone in stressful, understaffed conditions. Or a company may take an employee’s travel documents and tell them they can’t leave unless they finish paying off their expensive recruitment and travel fees.

Some other practices that may indicate a staffing agency is potentially violating the law include:

  • The company is paying you less than U.S. citizens with the same job;
  • The company promised you a different job than the one it gave you;
  • The company promised you a higher salary than you are receiving;
  • The company does not count all of your working hours toward the minimum number of hours needed to avoid owing it a substantial amount of money;
  • The company required you to move to a different city or state mid-contract without releasing you from the agreement;
  • The company forbids you from leaving the state without informing it; and
  • The company forces you to pay for equipment or other materials needed on the job.

These are just some examples. There may be many more.

In the United States, laws protect workers from being treated unfairly in the workplace, especially when they are recruited overseas to work in this country. These may all be examples of what the law defines as labor trafficking. Labor trafficking can affect people from all different countries and in a variety of professions. You can learn more about this problem from Polaris and The Human Trafficking Legal Center, and you can click here to read about similar allegations against a healthcare staffing company.

If this sounds like your experience, you may have legal rights even if you no longer work for the company that recruited you. Please complete the form below and an attorney will review your submission to see whether we may be able to provide legal assistance. Translation services can be made available.

If you would like to speak to an attorney about a different issue, please contact us via the form at the bottom of this webpage.

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