Jul
13
NEW MINIMUM WAGE REMINDER
By Thomas Lee


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Effective July 1, 2021, minimum wage has increased for many local cities.


In addition to the above, the following minimum wage increases for hotel workers are of note:


- Los Angeles and Santa Monica: Effective July 1, 2021, the minimum wage for hotel workers is increasing from $17.13 to $17.64 in both cities. (Note that the Los Angeles ordinance only applies to hotels with 150 or more rooms. Santa Monica's ordinance applies to all hotels, regardless of size.


- Long Beach: Effective July 1, 2021, the minimum wage for hotel workers is increasing from $15.47 to $15.69. (Note that the Long Beach ordinance only applies to hotels with 100 or more rooms.)


It is important for affected businesses to und...


Jul
09
Severance Agreements Explained
By Thomas Lee


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Severance agreements are designed to protect an employer from future lawsuits filed by former employees or other terminated workers. In California, employment law lawsuits have been skyrocketing in recent years and even more so during the pandemic.


The typical employment lawsuits or administrative complaint include claims for:


- Unpaid overtime and minimum wages


- Unpaid split shift premium pay


- Misclassification as an independent contractor / overtime exempt employee


- Labor Code violations


- Meal and rest break violations


- Unfair termination


- Unlawful discrimination – pregnancy discrimination, age discrimination, race discrimination, gender discrimination, transgender discrimination, med...


Jul
08
Cal/OSHA Publishes Updated COVID-19 Model Prevention Program
By Thomas Lee


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On June 29, 2021, Cal/OSHA published a revised COVID-19 Model Prevention Program that reflect the changes made to the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) on June 17, 2021.


Most employers in California are required to establish and implement an effective written COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP) pursuant to the Emergency Temporary Standards in place for COVID-19 (California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 8, section 3205(c)). Cal/OSHA publishes this model program to assist employers with creating their own unique CPP tailored to their workplace. While using the model CPP does not ensure the employer is meeting all requirements of the ETS, it is a useful starting document for employers.


The ...


Jun
28
Tips and Tricks to Remember for Your USCIS Adjustment Interview
By Thomas Lee

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This article is written to provide tips and tricks for your USCIS adjustment of status interview.


Please remember that the interview is an official government proceeding. You must show your respect for the process and to the adjudicating officer. Respect is shown by your: (1) appearance; (2) organization of documents; and (3) attitude.


APPEARANCE:
First impressions are everything, and you only get one chance to make one. Dress respectfully in business casual attire. Avoid wearing flip flops, and do not over dress. Note that you will be entering a federal building / office and required to go through metal detectors. Please remember to avoid bringing prohibited items, such as weapons, marijuana,...


Mar
20
USCIS Rescinds Public Charge Inadmissibility Rule
By Thomas Lee

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On March 9, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois vacated the USCIS Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule, 84 Fed. Reg. 41,292 (Aug. 14, 2019), as amended by Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds; Correction, 84 Fed. Reg. 52,357 (Oct. 2, 2019) (“Public Charge Final Rule”) nationwide. That decision was stayed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

The USCIS has immediately stopped applying the Public Charge Final Rule to all pending applications and petitions that would have been subject to the rule. USCIS continues to apply the public charge inadmissibility statute, including consideration of the statutory minimum f...


Dec
10
Trump's Immigration Toilet Finally Flushes
By Thomas Lee

The light of freedom from an ignorant imposter claiming to be a greater president than Abe Lincoln is finally around the corner. Trump can no longer defecate on our proud immigration process which not only founded the U.S., but also leads our future. Our Constitution will soon return to being the supreme law of the land instead of being used as Trump's toilet paper. Rather than taking immediate action against the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump is too busy lying about election fraud and ignoring the fact that thousands of Americans, both documented and undocumented, are dying on a daily basis. Millions of Americans in every state have had their lives destroyed, turned upside down, or have been h...


Jul
31
USCIS Filing Fees Change on 10/2/2020
By Thomas Lee

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The USCIS has announced today that the fees for filing most of its petitions and applications will change effective October 2, 2020. The good news is that some of the fees, such as for biometrics, have been reduced by up to 65%. Although the biometric fee for DACA applicants remains unchanged at $85.00, the silver lining is that the DACA program has not been cancelled despite Trump's promises to defy the U.S. Supreme Court's recent rejection of his executive actions to kill it. The bad news is that some of the fees have exponentially increased by up to 545%, with U-1 nonimmigrant family members and Applicants seeking suspension of deportation being hit the hardest.

A chart summarizing a...


Jul
28
Trump to Defy the U.S. Supreme Court's favorable DACA holding
By Thomas Lee

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The White House announced today that the United States will take steps to wind down legal protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought into the country as children, often called “Dreamers,” while it conducts a legal review after the Supreme Court rejected President Donald Trump's plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA.

The DACA program was created in 2012 by then-President Barack Obama as a stopgap measure to shield from deportation people who were brought into the United States as children and did not have citizenship or legal residency status. The protection lasts for two years at a time and can be renewed. DACA do...


Jul
06
Exemptions for F-1 Foreign Students Taking Online Courses Announced
By Thomas Lee

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The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced modifications Monday to temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online classes due to the pandemic for the fall 2020 semester. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to publish the procedures and responsibilities in the Federal Register as a Temporary Final Rule.

Temporary exemptions for the fall 2020 semester include:

1. Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. The U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester nor ...


May
13
Immigrants With Work Visas, Suddenly Jobless, Must Leave U.S. if They Aren't Rehired
By Thomas Lee

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Like millions of American workers, an Indian software engineer, a British market researcher and an Iranian architect lost their jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike Americans, they are not entitled to unemployment benefits, despite paying taxes, because they are on foreign work visas. And, if they fail to find similar jobs soon, they must leave the country.

Rejish Ravindran analyzed data for a national footwear retailer, helping make sales projections and investment decisions. After hiring him on an H-1B skilled-worker visa nearly two years ago, the company recently sponsored his application for legal permanent residency, a process that takes several years to complete.

“It was g...