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Firm settles with labor department
Foreign workers due $1M in back wages
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Forsyth County News
A south Forsyth business has settled a dispute with the U.S. Department of Labor, agreeing to pay nearly $1 million in back wages and interest.

Smartsoft International Inc. issued a statement characterizing its decision as the “most productive way to move forward” and not an admission of wrongdoing.

The money will go to about 135 foreign workers temporarily employed by the company under a federal, H-1B visa program. The labor department’s wage and hour division determined the computer consulting company violated the program.

According to the labor department, some employees were not paid any wages at the beginning of their employment. Some were paid on a part-time basis, despite being full-time workers, and others were paid less than the prevailing wage applicable to where they worked.

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis said in a statement that “workers deserve to receive the full wages for which they have worked so hard.”

“That is not just a matter of decency and common sense, it’s the law,” Solis said.

Smartsoft stated the investigation “found no evidence of a systemic violation of the law.”

The labor department also “found no cases in which Smartsoft engaged in willful wrongdoing.”

The company contested the conclusions and requested a formal hearing with the labor department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.

However, as part of the agreement, Smartsoft will drop any legal challenges.

According to the company’s statement, “Smartsoft strongly believes it would have prevailed in any legal efforts to rebut the DoL’s assertions. The company elected to settle the matter because of the high cost associated with a protracted legal battle.”

Established in 1997, Smartsoft has about 650 global employees, including more than 400 consultants.

According to its Web site, the company provides service and systems integration to corporations including Siemens Energy & Automation, Nissan Motors and Motorola.

The company, whose headquarters are off Johns Creek Parkway, just north of McGinnis Ferry Road, will continue to participate in the H-1B visa program.

While the statement refers to the dispute as a result of “differing interpretations of highly complex laws and regulations,” Smartsoft said it will enlist “new measures aimed at avoiding such confusion in the future.”