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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 06-25-2009, 11:15 PM
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Default H1B Contract Bond...

Hi. I came from the Philippines and signed a contract for a 3-year obligation as a PT here in the US. My employer paid my recruiter (agency) fees to get me here. In the whole process, I did not shell out anything except for my airfare and other minor fees. However, my recruiter made this written contract saying that if I breach it, I have to pay all the expenses, as in literally all of it regardless of how long I already worked within the three-year period. I just feel that I am being held by my employer since I am planning to move to another company that would better give me the chance to have a green card to a place where I really like to live. Is it really legal that a recruiter make a copy of a contract/bond for the employer and the recruit to sign on it and for me to be responsible to pay all of the fees should I breach the contract? Is there any law/article that prohibits this practice?

I highly appreciate your warm assistance.

NaturopathicPT
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 06-25-2009, 11:48 PM
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I believe the employer cannot legally penalize you for leaving the job. But some expenses like, "sign on bonus" are legally refundable if you don't agree to the terms mentioned. So it really depends on what exact expense they are asking (or otherwise based on the definition of a "penalty" vs "refund"). Also the employment laws differ between states (for example some allow non-compete agreements and some don't).
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 06-25-2009, 11:54 PM
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Default H1B Contract Bond...

Actually, it is my recruiter "who" made the contract and my employer uses that as a basis. I work here in Florida. I have no sign on bonuses whatsoever. It is only the immigration, recruitment, and exam fees that were included. Basically my employer paid my recruiter just to get me here.
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 06-26-2009, 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by naturopathicpt View Post
Hi. I came from the Philippines and signed a contract for a 3-year obligation as a PT here in the US. My employer paid my recruiter (agency) fees to get me here. In the whole process, I did not shell out anything except for my airfare and other minor fees. However, my recruiter made this written contract saying that if I breach it, I have to pay all the expenses, as in literally all of it regardless of how long I already worked within the three-year period. I just feel that I am being held by my employer since I am planning to move to another company that would better give me the chance to have a green card to a place where I really like to live. Is it really legal that a recruiter make a copy of a contract/bond for the employer and the recruit to sign on it and for me to be responsible to pay all of the fees should I breach the contract? Is there any law/article that prohibits this practice?

I highly appreciate your warm assistance.

NaturopathicPT
Please consult an attorney that deals with Employment and Contract law in your employer's state. Some things are legally binding and other are not. It depends on your agreement terms.


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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 06-26-2009, 01:19 PM
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Another option is to negotiate a deal with the new (prospective) employer, to pay those fees to the recruiter/old employer.

For example if an employer payed for your air-ticket/relocation, expecting that you will stay, and if you leave the employer the very first week, I believe it is very reasonable from your side, to refund the employer his expense (whatever the law is). And since you may not want to loose money from your pocket, ask the next employer (who is really going to benefit by your arrival) to carry that expense.

The laws are sometimes more strict towards the employer. It is kept purposely like that to avoid employers taking advantage of employees (employer being the stronger side). But we should try NOT to not mis-use this advantage , towards reasonable employers.

Last edited by morchu; 06-26-2009 at 01:35 PM.
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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 06-26-2009, 02:41 PM
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No matter what the employment contract states as the penalty for leaving the job. If your employer files a case against you for breach of contract the court will decide what damages if any need to be awarded, they will look at all the circumstances involved, you can also file a counter claim for any money you think is owed to you by the company. The court will not honor a predetermined amount mentioned in the contract as damages.
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 06-26-2009, 02:50 PM
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How can any court / law hold the employee accountable for a contract that he / she did not sign? If I am reading it right, the OP is saying that the contract was signed by recruiter stating that the employee will be responsible for all costs. If that is the case, the contract should be binding on the recruiter if any one at all.
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 06-26-2009, 02:57 PM
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the above scenario applies only if their is a signed contract between him and the employer, does not apply to an agreement that was made between the recruiter and his employer as he is not a party to the contract.
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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 06-26-2009, 06:32 PM
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Default H1B Contract Bond...

I appreciate your reply but I cannot understand what you mean on your first response Atty. Prashanthi. Some of my questions on my first statement have not been answered.

Last edited by naturopathicpt; 06-26-2009 at 06:35 PM.
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  #10 (permalink)  
Old 06-29-2009, 02:28 PM
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I have questions on the facts of your case, you say that a recruiter signed a contract on your behalf?, how is that possible?, the contract would then be between the recruiter and your employer, unless you signed a separate contract with the recruiter agreeing to certain terms and conditions, also it is not clear if your recruiter is in the US or in Phillipines, many other aspects are not very clear. Therefore i gave you a general response as to what happens in these situations, if you need a more specific response to your questions, i suggest that you consult an attorney over the phone or in person, it would make more sense to look at the contract in question and then give you advice on your problem.
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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 06-29-2009, 02:46 PM
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Hi Atty. Prashanthi, I signed a contract from my local Philippine recruiter who brought me here in the US. My recruiter made a hardcopy of terms and agreement and gave my employer and I a copy to sign on. The agreement inlcudes if and when I breach the contract, I have to pay all the expenses incurred by my employer to bring me here in the US (immigration fees, recruitment fees, etc.). I would just like to know if there is a law that allows recruiters to hold employees through this agreement.
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Old 06-29-2009, 04:00 PM
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Note that you cannot legally be required to reimburse certain immigration fees such as the $1500 or $750 ACWIA fee. Also,you cannot legally be required to reimburse USCIS filing fees and/or immigration related legal fees which, when subtracted from your salary, bring your salary below the required LCA wage.
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Old 06-29-2009, 05:53 PM
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Hi Atty. Ruben, your response has been really helpful and it does makes sense that it would be below the minimum salary required by the LCA. Is there any PDF or citation where I can print out for my records stating this law?

I have to clarify something, the contact was made by my recruiter BUT the Employment Agreement states that it is only between ME and my EMPLOYER. Should I breach the contact it states:

"If the employee resigns OR otherwise breaches any of the terms of this Agreement prior to its expiration, Employee shall be liable for ALL of the expenses incurred by the Employer to tmploy him or her, including, but not limited to, COST OF TRANSPORTATION, FEES FOR PROCESSING IMMIGRATION DOCUMENTS, FEES FOR PROCESSING LICENSING DOCUMENTS, AND ANY FEES PAID BY EMPLOYEE TO A RECUITER. EMPLOYEE UNDERSTANDS AND AGREES THAT THESE COSTS MAY BE RECOVERED BY DEDUCTING THESE AMOUNTS FROM ANY WAGES EARNED. If any party shall violate or breach any of the terms or provisions of this Agreement, the party in default or breach, shall shall pay to the prevaling party ALL COSTS AND EXPENSES, INCLUDING REASONABLE ATTORNEY'S FEES, WHICH THE PREVAILING PARTY MAY INCUR OR PAY AS A RESULT OF SUCH DEFAULT OR BREACH."

So Atty. Ruben, I want to know your opinion on this. is this really illegal? Though I signed the contract without knowing about the LAW, do I have the power to dispute this?

I appreciate your generous response.

NaturopathicPT
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