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Changes Announced: Visa Lottery Program

Fall 2000

The 2002 DV Visa Lottery Program is intended to diversify the U.S. population by making immigrant visas available to natives of countries not well represented in the U.S. population. It makes up to 55,000 permanent resident immigrant visas available each year.

If you have immigrant employees, you may want to make them aware of several changes to the program this year. These changes, along with specific instructions, can be found on the Internet at:

These sites include: a press release issued by the U.S. Department of State, instructions, and a sample application form for this year's program. Also included are specific instructions about using regular or airmail only, envelope size, mailing address, signature, photographs, and the disqualification of any alien who submits more than one application. The press release, instructions, and sample application form contain additional important information. Please have interested employees read them carefully!

Your immigrant employees will also want to know that, to participate in this year's lottery, they must submit their application to the Kentucky Consular Center between noon, EST, on Monday, October 2, 2000 and noon, EST, on Wednesday, November 1, 2000.

Unfortunately, this year natives of Canada, China (mainland and Macau), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam are not eligible for this program. In some cases, however, an alien may apply based on the birth country of his or her spouse or parents instead of his own birth country.Check the instructions.

Your immigrant employees can participate in the lottery at the same time and in addition to any other immigration petitions they may be pursuing. The odds of winning the lottery are slim, of course, but the process is simple and there's no reason for them not to try their luck if they are eligible.

Your employees do not need an attorney to participate. However, if they have any questions, feel free to contact us. Additionally, if you would like to post a hard copy of materials for employees, please call our office. Linda Clifford, the article's author, is a member of the Insurance Team in our Madison office.

NLRA Violation to Refuse Non-Union Employee Request for Representative

In Epilepsy Foundation of Northeast Ohio, 331 NLRB 92 (July 7, 2000), the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") changed course and held that it is a violation of the National Labor Relations Act ("NLRA") to refuse a non-union employee's request to have a co-employee present at an investigatory meeting which the employee reasonably believes might result in disciplinary action. In enunciating this new requirement, the NLRB applied Weingarten rights - which had been limited to unionized workplaces- to non-unionized workplaces as well.

The NLRB's Epilepsy Foundation decision stems from a charge filed by Anras Borgs who was terminated after he refused to attend a meeting with the Foundation's executive director and his supervisor to discuss a memorandum that he and another employee (Ashraful Hasan) wrote criticizing the supervisor. Intimidated at the prospect of meeting with his supervisor, Borgs notified the executive director that he was willing to attend the meeting if it was only the executive director and him, or if he could have Hasan attend the meeting with the three of them. The executive director refused both requests and terminated Mr. Borgs for insubordination. The NLRB found that this refusal violated the NLRA, which it concluded provides both union and non-union employees with the right to have a co-employee present at such investigatory meetings.

Under the NLRB's new decision, employers who fail to accede to an employee's request that a co-worker be present at an investigatory meeting run the risk of the NLRB invalidating the disciplinary action which arose from the meeting. As the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeast Ohio discovered, under the NLRB's new decision, firing an employee for refusing to attend a meeting because his request for a representative has been denied will result in the employee being ordered reinstated with backpay.

Questions regarding the NLRA can be directed to Jon Andersonor Joanne Whiting at the Godfrey & Kahn office located in Madison; or to John Thiel at our Appleton office.

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