BALCA reverses denial of Labor Certification

Posted On: March 31, 2009

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recently reversed the final determination
of a Certifying Officer (CO) denying labor certification (LC) for an alien worker for the position of Plumber Helper.

The employer, a plumbing services company filed a LC on behalf of an alien worker in April of 2001. The application got caught up in the large number of pre-PERM backlog cases, and as a result the employer did not receive the Recruitment Instructions letter until February of 2007. The letter directed the employer to advertise the offered position in a newspaper of general circulation. The Employer placed an ad in the Houston Northwest Greensheet for the requisite period of time, and also placed an advertisement for the position online. In August of 2007, the director issued a Notice of Findings (NOF) to the employer indicating that the employer must submit proof of advertisement or the application would be denied. In September, the employer submitted a notarized proof receipt indicating that the employer had run the advertisement in the Greensheet. Thereafter, the CO issued its final determination denying certification because the Greensheet did not meet the definition of a newspaper of general circulation. Subsequently, the employer requested BALCA review. The employer indicated in its request that (1) it has used the Greensheet before for advertising purposes and forms were never returned or questioned, and (2) it asked to be permitted to re-advertise if the Greensheet was determined inadequate.

Upon BALCA review, it was determined that the employer was denied an adequate opportunity to timely submit evidence on the issue of whether the Greensheet was a newspaper of general circulation. The employer was not informed of the inadequacy of the newspaper until the director’s final determination. Accordingly, it is the certifying officer’s duty to state the specifics upon which the decision to issue the NOF was made. If the reasons for the denial are not made clear, it cannot rebut with sufficiency nor can it attempt to cure any deficiency. Upon review of the NOF, BALCA determined that it only suggested that the employer submit proof of advertisement to rebut. The CO made it clear in its final determination letter that the newspaper did not meet the regulation requirements, but by that time, it was too late for the employer to submit evidence to rebut the conclusion. Thus, BALCA determined that the NOF was rebutted, and therefore certification should be granted. Accordingly, the final determination of the CO was reversed and the labor certification thereafter granted.