Hi, my name is ***** ***** I hope to provide some helpful perspective.
Be aware that I am licensed in California; we cannot provide specific legal advice in this forum; and no lawyer-client relation exists.
That said: This appears to be a labor contract issue, not an immigration issue.
So the issue is whether the friend has a valid contract with the employer. and that will depend on many factors:
-- is there a written agreement?
-- are there oral agreements?
-- do any if these agreements form a contract?
-- if there is a contract, what are the exact terms?
-- has either side failed to perform their obligation (if a contract exists), without legal excuse?
-- was the failure material or minor?
I hope you can see there are a lot of details that need to be conveyed to determine the employee'-employer relationship and how best to proceed.
Depending on the size of the employer, it may well be governed by many federal laws, including discrimination, ERISA and others; any complaint by the employee of ill-treatment that triggers retaliation from the employer potentially make the employer liable for that as well.
Please consider the value in paying for a full consultation with a labor contract lawyer, not only wit respect to the income, but the need for future sponsorship od the friends wished to continueworking in the U.S.
I know it is not a quick/simple answer. Unfortunately in lw there rarely is a quick & easy answer. But I hope this provides some perspective, and if so, pI would appreciate a positive rating!
Thanks & Best!