Maximum Civil Money Penalties for H-2A and H-2B Violations Go Up

DOL issued a new regulation increasing maximum Civil Money Penalties or CMPs for regulatory violations. 

CMPs are fines authorized by regulation or statute. For example, the INA authorizes a maximum CMP for H-2B violation of $10,000. That cap was put in place in 2005. Inflation in effect has reduced that fine. 

To deal with the problem, Congress passed a law automatically adjusting CMPs for inflation. The current H-2A CMPs per violation or investigation are: 

  • Willful violation of the "work contract" - $5,695 (29 CFR 501.19(c)(1)
  • Health or safety violation causing death - $56,391 (29 CFR 501.19(c)(2))
  • A repeat violation of the above -  $112,780 (29 CFR 501.19(c)(4))
  • Failure to cooperate with an investigation - $5,695 (29 CFR 501.19(d))
  • Displacing a US worker with an H-2A worker - $16,917 (29 CFR 501.19(e))
  • Displacing a US worker application with an H-2A worker - $16,917 (29 CFR 501.19(f))

For H-2B workers, the maximum CMP is $12,383.00.

Knowing the potential CMPs is only the first step. DOL has a complex structure for deciding which CMPs apply to which violations. For CMPs based on past events, you should make sure DOL started with the correct amount. That could make a difference in the net fine/demand.