H-1B fraud claim at Dolby leads to com­plaint

Ex-worker says he was fired af­ter he re­ported is­sue to man­age­ment

The Mercury News Weekend - - BUSINESS - By Ethan Baron ebaron@ba­yare­anews­group.com

Bay Area mu­sic-tech icon Dolby Lab­o­ra­to­ries took no ac­tion on a case of sus­pected H-1B visa fraud by an em­ployee and in­stead fired the whistle­blower, a new law­suit claims. Dolby said it would­not com­ment on­l­it­i­ga­tion. Jorge Reyes said in his law­suit that Dolby hired him as a se­nior man­ager for in­ves­ti­ga­tions in Oc­to­ber 2016, but ter­mi­nated him less than a year later af­ter he brought his con­cerns about an al­leged visa fraud to man­age­ment and then to the fed­eral govern­ment.

About halfway through Reyes’ time at Dolby, he met a co-worker who de­scribed him­self as a lawyer from Ar­gentina, ac­cord­ing to his law­suit. Sus­pi­cious of what the man told him about his qual­i­fi­ca­tions and ed­u­ca­tion, Reyes be­gan to probe his col­league’s sta­tus and back­ground, he said in the suit, filed Mon­day in San Fran­cisco County Su­pe­rior Court.

He claimed in the suit that he dis­cov­ered the worker had sub­mit­ted fal­si­fied doc­u­men­ta­tion in or­der to ob­tain an H-1B visa, which is in­tended for jobs re­quir­ing spe­cial­ized knowl­edge and a bach­e­lor’s de­gree or higher. The ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has taken aimat the H-1B and in­tends to change the way the lot­tery for the visa is run, to fa­vor more highly ed­u­cated work­ers.

Af­ter Reyes re­ported his con­cerns to se­nior man­age­ment of his San Fran­cisco em­ployer, the

com­pany be­gan to re­tal­i­ate against him, claim­ing his per­for­mance was lack­ing and that he’d ex­ag­ger­ated his re­sume, he al­leged. A su­per­vi­sor sug­gested that he must not be in­ter­ested in his job and should look else­where for em­ploy­ment, Reyes claimed.

Dolby failed to take any ac­tion on Reyes’ re­port of visa fraud, he claimed.

So Reyes took his find­ings to the U. S. De­part­ment of State and De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity in April 2017, he said in the suit. “A crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion was opened by both the United States State De­part­ment and Home­land Se­cu­rity,” the law­suit said.

The State De­part­ment told this news or­ga­ni­za­tion it would not com- ment on a mat­ter that is be­fore the courts. Home­land Se­cu­rity did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Reyes claimed Dolby’s “ha­rass­ment” of him sub­se­quently in­ten­si­fied, and he was di­ag­nosed with high blood pres­sure and anx­i­ety, which he claimed re­sulted from the al­leged ha­rass­ment. He took a month of med­i­cal leave and re­turned to work when cleared to do so by his doc­tor, he said in the suit.

The com­pany con­tin­ued its al­leged ha­rass­ment by putting him on ad­min­is­tra­tive leave and open­ing up a “threat as­sess­ment ” in­ves­ti­ga­tion tar­get­ing him, he claimed. He was not al­lowed to re­turn to work, and was fired in Au­gust 2017, he claimed.

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