The Administrator, OFLC may not issue future labor certifications under this subpart to an employer and any successor in interest to the debarred employer, subject to the time limits set forth in paragraph (c) of this section, if:
The Administrator, OFLC finds that the employer substantially violated a material term or condition of its temporary labor certification with respect to the employment of domestic or nonimmigrant workers; and
The Administrator, OFLC issues a Notice of Intent to Debar no later than 2 years after the occurrence of the violation.
The Administrator, OFLC may not issue future labor certifications under this subpart to an employer represented by an agent or attorney, subject to the time limits set forth in paragraph (c) of this section, if:
The agent or attorney participated in, had knowledge of, or had reason to know of, the employer's substantial violation; and
The Administrator issues the agent or attorney a Notice of Intent to Debar no later than 2 years after the occurrence of the violation.
No employer, attorney, or agent may be debarred under this subpart for more than 3 years.
For the purposes of this section, a substantial violation includes:
A pattern or practice of acts of commission or omission on the part of the employer or the employer's agent that:
Are significantly injurious to the wages or benefits offered under the H-2B program or working conditions of a significant number of the employer's U.S. or H-2B workers;
Reflect a significant failure to offer employment to each qualified domestic worker who applied for the job opportunity for which certification was being sought, except for lawful job-related reasons;
Reflect a significant failure to comply with the employer's obligations to recruit U.S. workers as set forth in this subpart;
Reflect a significant failure to comply with the RFI or audit process pursuant to §§ 655.23 or 655.24 ;
Reflect the employment of an H-2B worker outside the area of intended employment, or in an activity/activities, not listed in the job order (other than an activity minor and incidental to the activity/activities listed in the job order), or after the period of employment specified in the job order and any approved extension; or
Reflect a significant failure to comply with the supervised recruitment process pursuant to § 655.30.
Fraud involving the Application for Temporary Employment Certification or a response to an audit;
A significant failure to cooperate with a DOL investigation or with a DOL official performing an investigation, inspection, or law enforcement function under this subpart;
A significant failure to comply with one or more sanctions or remedies imposed by the ESA for violation(s) of obligations under this subpart found by that agency (if applicable), or with one or more decisions or orders of the Secretary or a court order secured by the Secretary; or
A single heinous act showing such flagrant disregard for the law that future compliance with program requirements cannot reasonably be expected.
DOL procedures for debarment under this section will be as follows:
The Administrator, OFLC will send to the employer, attorney, or agent a Notice of Intent to Debar by means normally ensuring next-day delivery, which will contain a detailed statement of the grounds for the proposed debarment. The employer, attorney, or agent may submit evidence in rebuttal within 14 calendar days of the date the notice is issued. The Administrator, OFLC must consider all relevant evidence presented in deciding whether to debar the employer, attorney, or agent.
If rebuttal evidence is not timely filed by the employer, attorney, or agent, the Notice of Intent to Debar will become the final decision of the Secretary and take effect immediately at the end of the 14-day period.
If, after reviewing the employer's timely filed rebuttal evidence, the Administrator, OFLC determines that the employer, attorney, or agent more likely than not meets one or more of the bases for debarment under § 655.31(d), the Administrator, OFLC will notify the employer, by means normally ensuring next-day delivery, within 14 calendar days after receiving such timely filed rebuttal evidence, of his/her final determination of debarment and of the employer, attorney, or agent's right to appeal.
The Notice of Debarment must be in writing, must state the reason for the debarment finding, including a detailed explanation of the grounds for and the duration of the debarment, and must offer the employer, attorney, or agent an opportunity to request a hearing. The notice must state that to obtain such a review or hearing, the debarred party must, within 30 calendar days of the date of the notice file a written request to the Chief Administrative Law Judge, United States Department of Labor, 800 K Street, NW., Suite 400-N, Washington, DC 20001-8002, and simultaneously serve a copy to the Administrator, OFLC. The debarment will take effect 30 days from the date the Notice of Debarment is issued, unless a request for a hearing is properly filed within 30 days from the date the Notice of Debarment is issued. The timely filing of a request for a hearing stays the debarment pending the outcome of the appeal.
Within 10 days of receipt of the request for a hearing, the Administrator, OFLC will send a certified copy of the ETA case file to the Chief Administrative Law Judge by means normally assuring next-day delivery. The Chief Administrative Law Judge will immediately assign an ALJ to conduct the hearing. The procedures in 29 CFR part 18 apply to such hearings, except that the request for a hearing will not be considered to be a complaint to which an answer is required.
After the hearing, the ALJ must affirm, reverse, or modify the Administrator, OFLC 's determination. The ALJ's decision must be provided immediately to the employer, Administrator, OFLC, DHS, and DOS by means normally assuring next-day delivery. The ALJ's decision is the final decision of the Secretary, unless either party, within 30 calendar days of the ALJ's decision, seeks review of the decision with the Administrative Review Board (ARB).
Any party wishing review of the decision of an ALJ must, within 30 days of the decision of the ALJ, petition the ARB to review the decision. Copies of the petition must be served on all parties and on the ALJ. The ARB must decide whether to accept the petition within 30 days of receipt. If the ARB declines to accept the petition or if the ARB does not issue a notice accepting a petition within 30 days after the receipt of a timely filing of the petition, the decision of the ALJ shall be deemed the final agency action. If a petition for review is accepted, the decision of the ALJ shall be stayed unless and until the ARB issues an order affirming the decision. The ARB must serve notice of its decision to accept or not to accept the petition upon the ALJ and upon all parties to the proceeding in person or by certified mail.
Upon receipt of the ARB's notice to accept the petition, the Office of Administrative Law Judges shall promptly forward a copy of the complete hearing record to the ARB.
Where the ARB has determined to review such decision and order, the ARB shall notify each party of:
(1) The issue or issues raised;
(2) The form in which submissions shall be made (i.e., briefs, oral argument, etc.); and
(3) The time within which such presentation shall be submitted.
The ARB's final decision must be issued within 90 days from the notice granting the petition and served upon all parties and the ALJ, in person or by certified mail. If the ARB fails to provide a decision within 90 days from the notice granting the petition, the ALJ's decision will be the final decision of the Secretary.
(f) Inter-agency reporting.
After completion of the appeal process, DOL will inform DHS and other appropriate enforcement agencies of the findings and provide a copy of the Notice of Debarment.
Effective Date Note:
At 77 FR 10160, Feb. 21, 2012, § 655.31 was revised, effective Apr. 23, 2012. For the convenience of the user, the revised text is set forth as follows:
Notice of deficiency.
(a) Notification timeline.
If the CO determines the Application for Temporary Employment Certification and/or job order is incomplete, contains errors or inaccuracies, or does not meet the requirements set forth in this subpart, the CO will notify the employer within 7 business days from the CO's receipt of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification. If applicable, the Notice of Deficiency will include job order deficiencies identified by the SWA under § 655.16. The CO will send a copy of the Notice of Deficiency to the SWA serving the area of intended employment identified by the employer on its job order, and if applicable, to the employer's attorney or agent.
(b) Notice content.
The Notice of Deficiency will:
State the reason(s) why the Application for Temporary Employment Certification or job order fails to meet the criteria for acceptance and state the modification needed for the CO to issue a Notice of Acceptance;
Offer the employer an opportunity to submit a modified Application for Temporary Employment Certification or job order within 10 business days from the date of the Notice of Deficiency. The Notice will state the modification needed for the CO to issue a Notice of Acceptance;
Offer the employer an opportunity to request administrative review of the Notice of Deficiency before an ALJ under provisions set forth in § 655.61. The notice will inform the employer that it must submit a written request for review to the Chief ALJ of DOL within 10 business days from the date the Notice of Deficiency is issued by facsimile or other means normally assuring next day delivery, and that the employer must simultaneously serve a copy on the CO. The notice will also state that the employer may submit any legal arguments that the employer believes will rebut the basis of the CO's action; and
State that if the employer does not comply with the requirements of this section by either submitting a modified application within 10 business days or requesting administrative review before an ALJ under § 655.61, the CO will deny the Application for Temporary Employment Certification. The notice will inform the employer that the denial of the Application for Temporary Employment Certification is final, and cannot be appealed. The Department will not further consider that Application for Temporary Employment Certification.