Microsoft: H-1B workers among those losing jobs
No legal obligation to keep U.S. workers over visa holders in layoff, says attorney
The company isn't detailing how many of the workers losing their jobs are in the U.S. on a visa, however.
Microsoft has been urged by Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), a leading critic of the H-1B program, to protect the jobs of U.S. workers over foreign workers. In a letter last week to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Grassley demanded that U.S. workers get priority in keeping their jobs.
But there is nothing in the law that requires a company to cut the jobs of H-1B workers before U.S. workers, said experts. David Kussin, an immigration attorney at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, said, "In fact, the law is very well designed to say that you have to treat H-1Bs the same as U.S. citizens in all regards."
Grassley appears to acknowledge that fact in his letter to Ballmer, arguing that the company has a "moral obligation" to protect U.S. workers. He did not write of a legal obligation.
Microsoft will not disclose the number of H-1B workers on its payroll, and it is hard to get a complete picture on any company's visa use from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, but Microsoft is considered a leading H-1B employer.
From available department data, in two years alone -- 2006 and 2007 -- it received approval for nearly 2,300 visas. In previous years, Microsoft has hired foreign workers under the H-1B program, which has been used heavily by technology companies since the 1990s.
The Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, or WashTech, a labor group in Seattle, said it is trying to determine how many foreign workers are being affected by the layoffs. "I know this is a secret they will try very hard to keep," said Priyanka Joshi, a spokeswoman for WashTech.
Citing an Indian press report that says Microsoft is not laying off employees at its India operations, Joshi said the move to lay off workers in the U.S. and not overseas "is completely unfair." A Microsoft representative could not be reached immediately to confirm those accounts.
Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos said in a statement that the jobs cuts were "based on a detailed assessment of our current and future business opportunities."
"The initial reductions we announced affect employees in a number of business units, and a significant number of the affected employees are foreign citizens working in this country on a visa," Gellos said in the statement.
- Microsoft: H-1B workers among those to lose jobs
- Sprint to lay off 8,000 by April
- Union: IBM layoff count nearing 3,000 this week
- Microsoft to cut 5,000 jobs as profits fall
- Ballmer: Microsoft strained to minimize layoffs
- Frankly Speaking: For Microsoft, the pain is just beginning
- Microsoft layoffs could boost Seattle's tech industry in long run
- Sun trims 1,300 jobs; IBM layoffs start
- Intel to shut four plants, lay off 6,000
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
Red Hat Enterprise Linux - The Original Cloud Operating System
Linux adoption is growing against a number of measures, such as the
number of supercomputers that run Linux and the size of the contributing...
- OpenStack Hype vs. Reality: CIO Quick Pulse Open-source architecture can enable IT departments to build infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds running on standard hardware.
- Future Focus: What's Coming in Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Find out why Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions that are truly future-ready must be designed to enable Machine-to-Machine (M2M) capabilities and much more.
- The CIO's Guide to Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) This guide will help those making an EMM platform decision make the best choice for their organization.
- Live Webcast Increasing the Value of Your Reports and Dashboards Learn how incorporating other analytical capabilities such as predictive modeling and visualization can increase the value of your reports and dashboards by providing...
- Testimonial: Cystic Fibrosis Trust Peter Hawkins, the Head of IT for Cystic Fibrosis Trust, discusses the role CommVault's Simpana software platform plays in improving the company's information...
- Increasing the Value of Your Reports and Dashboards Learn how incorporating other analytical capabilities such as predictive modeling and visualization can increase the value of your reports and dashboards by providing... All Management White Papers | Webcasts