A troubling new practice is spreading throughout the American business world that is not only causing Americans to lose their jobs, but their voices as well. At companies across the country, employees are being laid off and replaced with workers with H1-B visas who are being paid drastically less. As part of their severance, these former employees are being forced to sign nondisclosure clauses to prevent them from speaking out about this shady corporate strategy.

Workers have now begun refusing to sign the nondisclosure clauses and speaking out to media outlets like the New York Times to help create awareness about this possible illegal practice.

“The H1-Bs visa was created literally… to allow American firms to obtain specialized knowledge not otherwise available, that will not adversely affect Americans or their working condition. The interesting thing about these stories is we have some questionable practices in regards to the intention of the law,” said Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn on Boston Public Radio Tuesday.

Each year, 85,000 H1-B visas are available. Global firms take nearly 40 percent of all the visas each year, paying 6,000 dollars an application, says Koehn. These firms are then paid by American companies to supply cheap workers to replace their current workforce. “There is something so harsh and impersonal about the firms that do this for American firms.”

Kohen described scenarios where workers who had been employed by a company for over 12 years having to train their replacements. “What would it be like having someone shadowing you, knowing they were going to take your job… and that you were going to be laid off without any severance package, without any recourse, by virtue of the fact that your wages are higher than this person's,” said Koehn.

One solution Koehn mentioned that could eliminate this practice would be raising the minimum wage that employees with a H1-B visa are paid. The current minimum wage is $60,000, but if the minimum wage were $110,000, “that would shift things around a little bit.” said Koehn.