29 CFR § 501.20 - Debarment and revocation.

§ 501.20 Debarment and revocation.

(a) Debarment of an employer, agent, or attorney. The WHD Administrator may debar an employer, agent, or attorney, or any successor in interest to that employer, agent, or attorney from participating in any action under 8 U.S.C. 1188, 20 CFR part 655, subpart B, or this part, subject to the time limits set forth in paragraph (c) of this section, if the WHD Administrator finds that the employer, agent, or attorney substantially violated a material term or condition of the temporary agricultural labor certification, with respect to H-2A workers, workers in corresponding employment, or U.S. workers improperly rejected for employment, or improperly laid off or displaced, by issuing a Notice of Debarment.

(b) Effect on future applications. No application for H-2A workers may be filed by a debarred employer, or any successor in interest to a debarred employer, or by an employer represented by a debarred agent or attorney, or by any successor in interest to any debarred agent or attorney, subject to the time limits set forth in paragraph (c) of this section. If such an application is filed, it will be denied without review.

(c) Statute of limitations and period of debarment.

(1) The WHD Administrator must issue any Notice of Debarment not later than 2 years after the occurrence of the violation.

(2) No employer, agent, or attorney, or their successors in interest, may be debarred under this part for more than 3 years from the date of the final agency decision.

(d) Definition of violation. For the purposes of this section, a violation includes:

(1) One or more acts of commission or omission on the part of the employer or the employer's agent which involve:

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

(ii) 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;

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

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

(v) Failure to comply with one or more sanctions or remedies imposed by the WHD Administrator for violation(s) of contractual or other H-2A obligations, or with one or more decisions or orders of the Secretary or a court under 8 U.S.C. 1188, 20 CFR part 655, subpart B, or this part;

(vi) Impeding an investigation of an employer under 8 U.S.C. 1188 or this part, or an audit under 20 CFR part 655, subpart B;

(vii) Employing an H-2A worker outside the area of intended employment, or 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;

(viii) A violation of the requirements of 20 CFR 655.135(j) or (k);

(ix) A violation of any of the provisions listed in § 501.4(a); or

(x) A single heinous act showing such flagrant disregard for the law that future compliance with program requirements cannot reasonably be expected.

(2) In determining whether a violation is so substantial as to merit debarment, the factors set forth in § 501.19(b) shall be considered.

(e) Procedural requirements. 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, must identify appeal opportunities under § 501.33 and a timeframe under which such rights must be exercised and must comply with § 501.32. The debarment will take effect 30 calendar days from the date the Notice of Debarment is issued, unless a request for review is properly filed within 30 calendar days from the issuance of the Notice of Debarment. The timely filing of an administrative appeal stays the debarment pending the outcome of the appeal as provided in § 501.33(d).

(f) Debarment of associations, employer-members of associations, and joint employers. If, after investigation, the WHD Administrator determines that an individual employer-member of an agricultural association, or a joint employer under 20 CFR 655.131(b), has committed a substantial violation, the debarment determination will apply only to that employer-member unless the WHD Administrator determines that the agricultural association or another agricultural association member or joint employer under 20 CFR 655.131(b), participated in the violation, in which case the debarment will be invoked against the agricultural association or other complicit agricultural association member(s) or joint employer under 20 CFR 655.131(b) as well.

(g) Debarment involving agricultural associations acting as sole employers. If, after investigation, the WHD Administrator determines that an agricultural association acting as a sole employer has committed a substantial violation, the debarment determination will apply only to the agricultural association and any successor in interest to the debarred agricultural association.

(h) Debarment involving agricultural associations acting as joint employers. If, after investigation, the WHD Administrator determines that an agricultural association acting as a joint employer with its employer-members has committed a substantial violation, the debarment determination will apply only to the agricultural association, and will not be applied to any individual employer-member of the agricultural association. However, if the WHD Administrator determines that the employer-member participated in, had knowledge of, or had reason to know of the violation, the debarment may be invoked against the complicit agricultural association member as well. An agricultural association debarred from the H-2A temporary labor certification program will not be permitted to continue to file as a joint employer with its employer-members during the period of the debarment.

(i) Revocation. WHD may recommend to the OFLC Administrator the revocation of a temporary agricultural labor certification if WHD finds that the employer:

(1) Substantially violated a material term or condition of the approved temporary agricultural labor certification;

(2) Failed to cooperate with a DOL investigation or with a DOL official performing an investigation, inspection, or law enforcement function under 8 U.S.C. 1188, 20 CFR part 655, subpart B, or this part; or

(3) Failed to comply with one or more sanctions or remedies imposed by WHD, or with one or more decisions or orders of the Secretary or a court order secured by the Secretary under 8 U.S.C. 1188, 20 CFR part 655, subpart B, or this part.