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CNMI Labor reverses decision to deny certification to local company

THE local Department of Labor reversed its decision to deny a certification of good standing to Herman’s Modern Bakery Inc., the oldest Chamorro-owned business in the CNMI, providing that it fulfills its obligation to post online employer declarations.

The CNMI Labor-Job Placement Section said Herman’s Modern Bakery failed to post employer declarations in connection with 17 job vacancy announcements in 2016 and 2017. It said the company also failed to hire a U.S. status-qualified worker for a restaurant server position and it failed to submit a quarterly total workforce listing for the second quarter of 2016.

In an appeal hearing, Herman’s Modern Bakery, represented by its general manager Anna G. Hayes and its president Herman T. Guerrero, admitted that the company had not posted responses to responders to any of its job vacancy announcements or JVAs. But Hayes said many of the U.S. citizens who were interviewed and hired were walk-in applicants.

Jerry Cody

She said they neglected to file the required declarations because their human resources assistant, who oversaw labor matters, resigned in Feb. 2016.

Hayes said they employed a permanent resident for the restaurant server’s position, adding that they are committed to hiring qualified local workers.

She said Herman’s Modern Bakery currently employs 122 full-time employees of whom 60 are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, 56 CW1-status workers and six holders of employment authorization documents or EAD.

Hayes said they also submitted two workforce lists to DOL for 2016, covering the period of Oct. 2015 through April 2106, and the period of May 2016 through Jan. 2017.

But she said the three months comprising the second quarter of 2016 were not segregated from the other months.

Hayes said they did not realize that the department wanted the information tracked for each quarter. She added that when they received the denial they prepared and submitted the total workforce list for the questioned period.

In reversing the denial, Hearing Officer Jerry Cody said although the employer neglected to post declarations to numerous JVAs it had posted, no violation was committed by the employer as the company was able to present proof that it is hiring U.S. citizen workers.

“The regulations clearly state that if an employer hires a U.S. citizen or permanent resident for a posted job vacancy, the employer has no obligation to post declarations to responders,” stated his order.

“Nevertheless, as a practical matter, employers would be well advised to notify Job Placement when a U.S. citizen is hired for a posted position in order to avoid misunderstandings with DOL.”

Cody also excused the employer from the third violation as it had already corrected the deficiency by submitting the correct quarterly total workforce listing in 2016.

At the same time, Cody reminded Herman’s Modern Bakery that it has a continuing obligation to post online employer declarations to responders in cases where U.S. citizen or permanent resident applicants have not been hired and the company chose to employ foreign workers.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/94586-cnmi-labor-reverses-decision-to-deny-certification-to-local-company

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