Americans-Displaced-by-H-1B-Visa-Workers.jpg (2149×1159)Many American jobs are taken by workers from offshore who have H-1B visas. In 2016, the Disney Corporation laid off dozens of its American IT staff and replaced them with H-1B Visa workers. A judge ruled that Disney did not violate any visa laws in the layoffs. Southern California Edison and the University of California in San Francisco also replaced American IT staff with H-1B visa holders. According to The New York Times, the foreign workers are hired, “to do the grunt work of programing.” In all cases, the foreign workers were on contract through Indian outsourcing firms like Infosys.

Outsourcing Firms:

The majority of Infosys’ businesses are in the United States. The company acts as a temporary placement service. It receives several thousand H-1B visas every year and brings in entry-level Indian programmers who move from project to project in banks, pharmaceutical companies, manufacturing, and energy companies. These workers are technically working for the placement service. Clients pay fees to the placement service to cover their wages.

The Original Intention of the Program:

The H-1B visa program  was designed for employers who seek non-immigrant foreign workers in specialty occupations such as fashion models “of distinguished merit and ability.” Specialty occupations is one that requires highly specialized knowledge, at least a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent. The intent of the H-1B provision has been to help employers who can’t otherwise find workers with the needed knowledge and ability in the U.S, workforce. The program was written to meet an expressed need to fill vacancies where there is a shortage of American talent. According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), “The law establishes certain standards in order to protect similarly employed U.S. workers from being adversely affected.”

Cracking Down:

Last month (April, 2017) the DOL announced additional plans to protect American workers from H-1B discrimination. These modifications of the law came in recognition of the problem that some employers are using the program to hire non-immigrant foreign workers who would not be eligible to work in the United States without this special visa, even though there are American workers qualified and available. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has increased its surveillance of the H-1B program,

Legal Recourse:

The DOL’s recognition of the extent of H-1B violation and fraud provides a legal framework for legal action against employers who have discriminated against American workers for financial or other reasons. Lawyers are available to discuss potential class action claims against H-1B employers who discriminate against US Citizens. Even if you are the only person affected you should contact an employee-rights lawyer. Most employee-rights attorneys may not be familiar with the 1-HB regulations because these kinds of cases have been unusual until recently. However, a good lawyer will research the regulations, most are familiar with other forms of employee discrimination. They will be able to discuss your legal options.

Many H-1B employers are using the program fraudulently by paying their H-1B workers less than they would pay American employees. The special visa program has to be used to fill jobs that require special skills not widely available in the American labor pool. Employers obligations regarding prevailing wages under the law are clear. The law requires that use of the H-1B visa program will not adversely impact the wages or working conditions of American workers in similar occupations. A civil penalty of up to $5,000 per violation could be assessed for willful failure to pay appropriate wages. A company could be de-barred from further hiring H-1B visa holders, possible criminal fraud charges, and ordered to pay penalties of $120,000 or more for improper applications.

Please contact the highly trained and experienced employment law legal specialists at Aiman-Smith & Marcy and learn more about how we can help you. Besides employment law, our California law firm also specializes in class actions in California, consumer fraud and other areas.

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Lisseth Bayona


Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.



Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for over 25 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.


University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.



Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986