A recent wage-and-hour case illustrates the effect payroll deductions can have on minimum wage compliance. In Rivera v. Brickman Group, Ltd., No. 05-1518 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 7, 2008), a company brought Guatemalan and Mexican workers to the United States for seasonal employment under H-2B visas. Although the workers were paid amounts that appeared to be above the minimum wage, the company failed to take into account certain travel expenses and other employment-related costs incurred by the workers – expenses that reduced the workers’ earnings below minimum wage levels.

In particular, the court found that transportation expenses, costs involved in obtaining visas, …