Legal Translation, Online Translation Services, Legal Language Services, and U.S. Employment of Foreign Workers

We’ve blogged about legal translation of enforceable employee handbooks, about translating secondary evidence in immigration cases, and about professional language translation services and employment discrimination claims.  Legal translation services and legal language services are also important in the context of employing foreign workers in the U.S.  The U.S. H2-B visa program, which regulates foreign guest workers, does not require an employer to pay for worker transportation, visa, recruitment or subsistence costs related to their move to the U.S. 


However, there is a legitimate legal question as to whether or not an employer’s failure to pay these relocation costs constitutes an improper deduction from minimum wages as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), as this failure brings a recruited worker’s wages below the minimum standards. As the federal H2-B program and related laws do not require such payment, this argument is brought under existing state and local employment related laws which have been held to be incorporated into the AWPA working arrangement.

When bringing such a legal argument, the first step is to outline what rights are available and how the foreign worker is receiving payments.  

As the employment contracts are likely to be in the worker’s native language, a foreign language translation will be required. (If the contract is not in the native language and no foreign language translation was provided to the employee, than an argument for the contract being invalid can be made). Once contractual payments are determined, the next step is to calculate whether or not these fall below the minimum required wages per state and local laws of the jurisdiction.

To read our court interpreting and language translation blog entry “Translation for the USCIS and Immigration Attorneys: Share Foreign-Language Translations of ‘The Federal Court System in the United States’ with Your Foreign Clients”, click here.  And to read our legal interpreting and language translation blog post “International Multi-Language Translation for U.S. Employers, Safe Harbor Privacy Framework, and Data Protection Legislation in the U.S. and in the EU”, click here

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