Companies will have to cautiously observe the procedures for Form I-9, Work Eligibility Verification to stay away from important legal responsibility in a government inspection. An employer with operations in the States of Washington and Oregon a short while ago realized this lesson the tricky way. In January 2022, an Administrative Regulation Judge (ALJ) imposed I-9 fines of $1,527,308.90 against that employer.

The employer was a staffing corporation. It utilized much less than 50 complete-time, regular personnel but hundreds of seasonal personnel at many details in the yr. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) gained a tip that this enterprise was not complying with the I-9 policies and commenced an inspection of the company’s Forms I-9. The inspection included the I-9s for present-day and former workers in the retention time period. Soon after a two-12 months investigation, ICE issued a Notice of Intent to Fine that sought extra than $2 million in I-9 penalties. At the later on listening to, the ALJ significantly agreed with ICE and imposed a great of a lot more than $1.5 million. The ALJ imposed this higher good even following supplying leniency by dealing with the employer as a tiny business centered upon the selection of complete-time, typical workers.

The ALJ identified that the employer committed a lot of, really serious violations, such as the next:

  • Failing to well timed put together or existing the asked for Varieties I-9, such as failure to produce the complete Kind I-9 (lacking or blank internet pages).

  • Failing to prepare §§ 1 and 2 adequately, such as the following deficiencies:

    • No class of employment authorization specified in § 1 (no box was checked or various boxes have been checked).

    • No statement of the alien registration number, if applicable.

    • No signature by the new retain the services of in § 1 to attest below penalty of perjury that he or she is approved to do the job lawfully in the United States.

    • No doc entries in § 2 or entries for invalid paperwork, contrary to the I-9 Listing of Acceptable Paperwork.

    • No or only partial doc quantities or expiration dates in § 2 for documents introduced.

    • No printed identify of the employer’s representative in § 2.

    • No compliant signature of the employer’s agent (use of a signature stamp).

    • No employer attestation in § 2, confirming that the employer reviewed the files offered and confirmed the new hire’s identity and work eligibility according to federal I-9 principles.

  • Failing to comprehensive the Type I-9 inside of the time necessary less than federal law, including backdating 178 Types I-9.

  • Failing to reverify work authorization that was for a non permanent time period and expiring (no completion of § 3).

Federal regulation establishes a wonderful range for I-9 paperwork violations. In this situation, the ALJ imposed fines in the middle of the variety for most of the violations. Noting that backdating is an even extra serious violation than an untimely Variety I-9, the ALJ imposed better fines for backdating to make the “importance of candor in the I-9 kind process” obvious to companies.

Very best Follow Ideas: The Office of Homeland Safety a short while ago elevated the I-9 fine levels for paperwork violations. As of January 11, 2022, the great vary is now $252 to $2,507 per Form I-9. With the fines increasing and ICE actively pursuing new inspections, now is the time for employers to critique their Variety I-9 tactics and improve their compliance initiatives. Contemplate implementing very best practices this sort of as the adhering to:

  • Making certain that only properly-educated staff deal with the Variety I-9 approach for the employer.
  • Finishing periodic inside I-9 audits to deal with issues prior to ICE concerns the See of I-9 Inspection.
  • Consulting with authorized counsel for direction when unsure how to address challenging I-9 questions.

Businesses that consider these techniques will be better prepared for a federal government I-9 inspection and can minimize the risk of liability when ICE arrives knocking.


© 2022 Foley & Lardner LLP
Countrywide Legislation Evaluate, Volume XII, Amount 87