We’ve all been there.
You hire what you think will be a great employee, and it turns out you missed the mark during the interview. Or your great employee is found to be harassing other employees. Or you just need to cut certain staff because of a downturn in the economy.
In nearly any circumstance, ending the employment of someone who works for you is not an easy task.
But what if that employee came to you through an immigration program, like an H-1 visa or an E visa? If that’s the case, there are very specific steps you must take to follow state and federal laws for both immigration and labor laws.
The Orlando Law Group can help your business on both accounts. As a full-service firm with attorneys helping businesses and individuals, we can certainly help employers looking to terminate foreign workers in Orlando, Winter Garden, Altamonte Springs, St. Cloud, Kissimmee, Sanford and throughout Central Florida.
Notification of Termination
In nearly all cases of employment immigration, if you are terminating the employment of someone who is working with you under an employment visa, you will need to ensure multiple entities are notified.
This could include the employee, the United States Customs and Immigration Services, and possibly the consulate of the employee’s country of origin. Like so many legal concepts in immigration law, the actual process is dependent on the visa that is being used.
There are two possible exceptions to the above. If the employee is under a TN visa for employees from Mexico and Canada, and if a visa is designated for employees who transferred from one location within the company to a location in the United States.
When employing foreign workers, there may be expenses you have incurred when bringing those workers to your company.
Likewise, if you terminate a foreign employee, you may need to reimburse the employee to aid them in returning to their home country for “At least equal to the costs charged by the most economical and reasonable common carrier for the distances involved,” according to the Department of Labor.
This stipulation does not apply equally to all employment visas, and the case law on this issue evolves regularly. There is no hard definition of what is the “most economical and reasonable” cost that an employer must pay.
The attorneys at The Orlando Law Group are here to help you navigate this critical step.
When you terminate an employee, that employee is not necessarily required to go straight to the airport and back to their home country. In most cases, workers are provided a grace period of up to 60 days to put their affairs in order and return to their home country.
To be clear, however, this is not an excuse for workers to overstay their visa. If the visa expires 30 days after termination, the employee can only stay for 30 days.
There may be other options available for the employee in this situation. While this blog is focused on employers, The Orlando Law Group can help individuals who were terminated while working in the United States through an immigration program as well. There also may be some opportunities for an individual to stay in the United States after termination.
Your attorney at The Orlando Law Group can help to see if there are options available in your unique circumstance.
One of the central parts of terminating an employee is the I-140 petition, which is key to the immigration process for certain employees.
Remember, this does not apply to all foreign employees but can have significant effects on some foreign employees. The attorneys at The Orlando Law Group can help you determine what may happen to an employee’s I-140 petition.
For employers, keep in mind the I-140 petition is extremely important to your employees, and a commitment to not withdraw the petition within the first 180 days of employment can be a very useful employee benefit to attract higher-level employees.
Attorneys for Both Employee and Employer
The Orlando Law Group is a full-service law firm that helps businesses, organizations, and individuals with a wide range of legal services. As such, there may be cases where The Orlando Law Group can represent both the employer and the employee in an immigration case when their interests are totally aligned.
Of course, when that happens, The Orlando Law Group will be open and transparent and will only provide legal assistance to both parties with the express permission of both parties as information must be shared between everyone.
While terminating an employee can be complicated, The Orlando Law Group can help guide you to operate within the complex immigration system and its associated labor laws.
The complexity of terminating foreign employees should not prevent any business from hiring foreign employees. The benefits of foreign labor can be substantial, especially during times like these when good employees are hard to come by.
If you are looking to terminate a foreign employee in Orlando, Waterford Lakes, Altamonte Springs, Winter Garden, Lake Nona, St. Cloud, or Kissimmee, we’re here to help you with a full team of attorneys who care about you and your circumstance and treat you with compassion while seeking the best possible outcome for you and your loved ones.
The attorneys at The Orlando Law Group represent businesses in Orlando, Waterford Lakes, Altamonte Springs, Winter Garden, Lake Nona, St. Cloud, Kissimmee, and throughout Central Florida.
If you have questions about anything discussed in this article or other legal matters, give our office a call at 407-512-4394 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. We have an office conveniently located at 12301 Lake Underhill Rd, Suite 213, Orlando, FL 32828, as well as offices in Seminole, Osceola and West Orange counties to assist you.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.