I moved from Canada to Los Angeles (along with my wife) in early 2017, on a H1B visa to work in I.T. and virtualization for a medium-sized firm (technically, it's a firm run by one man, no board of directors etc.. let's just call it as startup). The job's does not appear to be a scam, the company's known in the area of California bordering LA where I work.
I got the job through an IT fair in the U.S. in 2016 and was told I'd have garden leave before I could start. I was effectively headhunted. I passed his interview tests, and had to sign a contract and read through about what the responsibilities of the job would entail, which included managing virtualization, virtual servers, Apache, linux, sudo etc.
However, I was threatened with being fired by the boss earlier this month after he told me:
John, you should not have been doing the virtualization, your job is really a sinecure. I just wanted to hire a few Canadians to make the firm look good. You're a likeable guy, but you shouldn't be working. If you continue to do any more work you'll be fired. Just come for the paycheck and enjoy... enjoy Los Angeles. Working is a violation of your contract.
(a sinecure is a "position without responsibility")
My boss also told me that I was not allowed to help with the newest project (which involves virtualization) and should only come in to work to clock in and out with my security card.
I've tried discussing this with him formally, but he will not discuss the issue with me and stonewalls me on this.
Is it unusual for someone to be offered a job on a H-1B visa, then told "don't do any work" and be told your job is a sinecure? Should I be looking for a way out?