20 CFR § 655.73 - Debarment.

§ 655.73 Debarment.

(a)Debarment of an employer. The Administrator, OFLC may not issue future labor certifications under this subpart to an employer or any successor in interest to that employer, subject to the time limits set forth in paragraph (c) of this section, if the Administrator, OFLC finds that the employer committed the following violations:

(1) Willful misrepresentation of a material fact in its H-2B Registration, Application for Prevailing Wage Determination,Application for Temporary Employment Certification, or H-2B Petition;

(2) Substantial failure to meet any of the terms and conditions of its H-2B Registration, Application for Prevailing Wage Determination,Application for Temporary Employment Certification, or H-2B Petition. A substantial failure is a willful failure to comply that constitutes a significant deviation from the terms and conditions of such documents; or

(3) Willful misrepresentation of a material fact to the DOS during the visa application process.

(b)Debarment of an agent or attorney. If the Administrator, OFLC finds, under this section, that an attorney or agent committed a violation as described in paragraphs (a)(1) through (3) of this section or participated in an employer's violation, the Administrator, OFLC may not issue future labor certifications to an employer represented by such agent or attorney, subject to the time limits set forth in paragraph (c) of this section.

(c)Period of debarment. Debarment under this subpart may not be for less than 1 year or more than 5 years from the date of the final agency decision.

(d)Determining whether a violation is willful. A willful misrepresentation of a material fact or a willful failure to meet the required terms and conditions occurs when the employer, attorney, or agent knows a statement is false or that the conduct is in violation, or shows reckless disregard for the truthfulness of its representation or for whether its conduct satisfies the required conditions.

(e)Determining whether a violation is significant. In determining whether a violation is a significant deviation from the terms and conditions of the H-2B Registration, Application for Prevailing Wage Determination,Application for Temporary Employment Certification, or H-2B Petition, the factors that the Administrator, OFLC may consider include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Previous history of violation(s) under the H-2B program;

(2) The number of H-2B workers, workers in corresponding employment, or improperly rejected U.S. applicants who were and/or are affected by the violation(s);

(3) The gravity of the violation(s);

(4) The extent to which the violator achieved a financial gain due to the violation(s), or the potential financial loss or potential injury to the worker(s); and

(5) Whether U.S. workers have been harmed by the violation.

(f)Violations. Where the standards set forth in paragraphs (d) and (e) in this section are met, debarrable violations would include but would not be limited to one or more acts of commission or omission which involve:

(1) Failure to pay or provide the required wages, benefits or working conditions to the employer's H-2B workers and/or workers in corresponding employment;

(2) Failure, except for lawful, job-related reasons, to offer employment to qualified U.S. workers who applied for the job opportunity for which certification was sought;

(3) Failure to comply with the employer's obligations to recruit U.S. workers;

(4) Improper layoff or displacement of U.S. workers or workers in corresponding employment;

(5) Failure to comply with one or more sanctions or remedies imposed by the Administrator, WHD for violation(s) of obligations under the job order or other H-2B obligations, or with one or more decisions or orders of the Secretary or a court under this subpart or 29 CFR part 503;

(6) Failure to comply with the Notice of Deficiency process under this subpart;

(7) Failure to comply with the assisted recruitment process under this subpart;

(8) Impeding an investigation of an employer under 29 CFR part 503 or an audit under this subpart;

(9) Employing an H-2B worker outside the area of intended employment, in an activity/activities not listed in the job order, or outside the validity period of employment of the job order, including any approved extension thereof;

(10) A violation of the requirements of § 655.20(o) or (p);

(11) A violation of any of the provisions listed in § 655.20(r);

(12) Any other act showing such flagrant disregard for the law that future compliance with program requirements cannot reasonably be expected;

(13) Fraud involving the H-2B Registration, Application for Prevailing Wage Determination,Application for Temporary Employment Certification, or the H-2B Petition; or

(14) A material misrepresentation of fact during the registration or application process.

(g)Debarment procedure -

(1)Notice of Debarment. If the Administrator, OFLC makes a determination to debar an employer, attorney, or agent, the Administrator, OFLC will send the party a Notice of Debarment. The Notice will state the reason for the debarment finding, including a detailed explanation of the grounds for and the duration of the debarment and inform the party subject to the notice of its right to submit rebuttal evidence or to request a debarment hearing. If the party does not file rebuttal evidence or request a hearing within 30 calendar days of the date of the Notice of Debarment, the notice is the final agency action and the debarment will take effect at the end of the 30-day period. The timely filing of an rebuttal evidence or a request for a hearing stays the debarment pending the outcome of the appeal as provided in paragraphs (g)(2) through (6) of this section.

(2)Rebuttal. The party who received the Notice of Debarment may choose to submit evidence to rebut the grounds stated in the notice within 30 calendar days of the date the notice is issued. If rebuttal evidence is timely filed, the Administrator, OFLC will issue a final determination on the debarment within 30 calendar days of receiving the rebuttal evidence. If the Administrator, OFLC determines that the party should be debarred, the Administrator, OFLC will inform the party of its right to request a debarment hearing according to the procedures in this section. The party must request a hearing within 30 calendar days after the date of the Administrator, OFLC's final determination, or the Administrator OFLC's determination will be the final agency order and the debarment will take effect at the end of the 30-day period.

(3)Hearing. The recipient of a Notice of Debarment seeking to challenge the debarment must request a debarment hearing within 30 calendar days of the date of a Notice of Debarment or the date of a final determination of the Administrator, OFLC after review of rebuttal evidence submitted under paragraph (g)(2) of this section. To obtain a debarment hearing, the recipient must, within 30 days of the date of the Notice or the final determination, file a written request with the Chief ALJ, United StatesDepartment of Labor, 800 K Street NW., Suite 400-N, Washington, DC 20001-8002, and simultaneously serve a copy on the Administrator, OFLC. The debarment will take effect 30 calendar days from the date the Notice of Debarment or final determination is issued, unless a request for review is timely filed. Within 10 business 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 ALJ by means normally assuring next day delivery. The Chief ALJ 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.

(4)Decision. After the hearing, the ALJ must affirm, reverse, or modify the Administrator, OFLC's determination. The ALJ will prepare the decision within 60 calendar days after completion of the hearing and closing of the record. The ALJ's decision will be provided to the parties to the debarment hearing by means normally assuring next day delivery. The ALJ's decision is the final agency action, unless either party, within 30 calendar days of the ALJ's decision, seeks review of the decision with the Administrative Review Board (ARB).

(5)Review by the ARB.

(i) Any party wishing review of the decision of an ALJ must, within 30 calendar 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 will decide whether to accept the petition within 30 calendar 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 calendar days after the receipt of a timely filing of the petition, the decision of the ALJ is the final agency action. If a petition for review is accepted, the decision of the ALJ will 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.

(ii) Upon receipt of the ARB's notice to accept the petition, the Office of Administrative Law Judges will promptly forward a copy of the complete hearing record to the ARB.

(iii) Where the ARB has determined to review the decision and order, the ARB will notify each party of the issue(s) raised, the form in which submissions must be made (e.g., briefs or oral argument), and the time within which the presentation must be submitted.

(6)ARB Decision. The ARB's final decision must be issued within 90 calendar days from the notice granting the petition and served upon all parties and the ALJ.

(h)Concurrent debarment jurisdiction.OFLC and the WHD have concurrent jurisdiction to debar under this section or under 29 CFR 503.24. When considering debarment, OFLC and the WHD will coordinate their activities. A specific violation for which debarment is imposed will be cited in a single debarment proceeding. Copies of final debarment decisions will be forwarded to DHS and DOS promptly.

(i)Debarment from other foreign labor programs. Upon debarment under this subpart or 29 CFR 503.24, the debarred party will be disqualified from filing any labor certification applications or labor condition applications with the Department of Labor by, or on behalf of, the debarred party for the same period of time set forth in the final debarment decision.