The Depart of Labor says Cloudwick Technologies offered employees $8,300 per month, but paid only $800 per month.
Indian American founder of a technology firm in East Bay, California, has been asked by the US Department of Labor to pay $175,000 to 12 Indian H-1B employees after the federal agency found that they were hugely underpaid.
According to an official release from the department, Cloudwick Technologies, founded by Indian American Mani Chhabra, hired Indian workers on H-1B visas, offering guaranteed salaries of up to $8,300 per month. The department alleged that the company paid them just $800 per month, which is a violation of the work visa program .
“Investigators found that the company paid impacted employees well below the wage levels required under the H-1B program based on job skill level, and also made illegal deductions from workers’ salaries,” the department said. “As a result, some of the H-1B employees that Cloudwick brought from India with promised salaries of up to $8,300 per month instead received as little as $800 net per month.”
Chhabra, the founder and CEO of Cloudwick Technologies, was quoted by The Mercury News as saying that the Department of Labor misinterpreted some facts about how the company uses its H-1B workers.
“Cloudwick has never brought resources from India,” he said. “All the resources are Master’s students that have educated in U.S. and then we hired and trained them,” Chhabra told the newspaper.
Chhabra added that the issue came under the radar of the department only because there was changes in visa categories that it imposed. He said that $800 was paid to employees during their training period. He also acknowledged that Cloudwick Technologies had deducted money for four of its H-1B employees for advanced training, which is illegal.
“This is not allowed for H-1B and we paid them back wages,” Chhabra said.
The Departmet of Labor is yet to reveal how the H-1B abuse came to it notice, nor has it provided details about how long the Indian H-1B workers have been employed with Cloudwick Technologies.
According to the official website of Cloudwick, it is a provider of bimodal digital business services and provides solutions to the Global 1000 companies. Its clientele includes 3M, Bank of America, Comcast, Home Depot, Intuit, JP Morgan, NetApp, Target, Visa and Walmart, the website said.