Law School Discussion

Case for discussion; US employer hiring worker from abroad

Case for discussion; US employer hiring worker from abroad
« on: January 13, 2012, 01:50:44 AM »
NC based restaurant seeks online thai national chef to work in uS based restaurant. Thai national agrees to work for rest and accepts offer. They discuss issues such as living arrangements in US. Prospective employer requests chef pay 50% of visa app fees. Chef agrees and send funds during  first 2 months post initial acceptance. prospective employer requests additional money from chef at approx 6 month post acceptance. Chef sends it.

At around 10 months post acceptance restaurant owner ceases respond to all communications/attempts (email and phone) from chef that were amicably previously free flowing  Chef sends a formal request for his USCIS visa applicant case number. This is ignored. Finally after relying on prospective employer chef send a strong letter relaying he does not believe there is a case number as the visa application was never filed.

Prosp employer confirms this, never filed. Chef asks that his money be returned. Restaurant owner says he simply has been busy and the application forms were long and difficult.

Owner claims he spent significant money already on visa related activities but did not hire an attorney or 3rd party company. Owner seems to believe he can justify keeping chefs 600 us dollars.

More strongly worded but polite emails are sent to owner. Next owner agrees to return chefs money but only if thailand based chef can provide him with a pre-addressed (thailand address) US posrage stamped envelope.

Owner also claimes he "never promised" a job to  chef and suddenly says the chefs resume is "suspect" as he had gaps in employment.

Some thoughts; if the initial intention of owner is to obtain a visa for the chef, but he fails to do so or even apply in a timely manner, can retention of money be characterized as fraud?
One would also wonder if perhaps the owner is getting money from multiple chef applicants in this manner.

Any other thoughts perhaps?

Re: Case for discussion; US employer hiring worker from abroad
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2012, 12:00:39 AM »
this sounds like something that would be small claims kind of issue, if not international of course. Anyway, it sounds like the restaurant was saying things, that the chef reasonably relied upon. The fact that the offer was made, and the restaurant knew he was in thailand, but still kept speaking with him, negotiated visa payments and living arrangements, accepted a payment (knowing where this was going) and followed up a second time to get more money (strengthening the belief the chef had of thinking this was leading to a job). Although there was no express promise, the circumstances are pretty strong in the chef's favor, though not all the way. I would bet that a judge would decide that much of the chefs money would be returned, not on fraud grounds though. There was a lot implied and constructively shown to the chef, the restaurant knew what they were doing. I would vote that perhaps some money would be kept for the restaurant if it was honestly true that paperwork was burdensome and costly, but only enough to cover that to the T. And I should also state, that under your facts, it is certainly a FACT that the restaurant never said "well we have to charge for this process, but we can't guarantee a job at this time." Now that is a very powerful fact, that is what SHOULD have been said, and it is their responsibility to say that one way or another (a judge might say). It is reasonable to say that, and unreasonable not to.

Re: Case for discussion; US employer hiring worker from abroad
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2012, 01:06:48 PM »
This actually sounds like a scam to me.  An online job offer to a chef in Thailand?  Really?  The employer couldn't find a single Chef here in the states that can cook Thai food?  How did the Chef know the employer was legit?  There is no talk about him being flown out to meet the employer or to have him cook for the employer. 

Sounds like the employer can probably keep the money because I don't think the employer is real.  Lots of scams out there promising work to people overseas but first, "send us some money."   Then all communication stops.  Sorry, but this doesn't sound real to me.