The U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") published a Final Rule on June 30, 2016 which will increase penalties for Form I-9 violations. The increased fines affect I-9 paperwork violations, unlawfully employing unauthorized workers and unfair employment practices in the Form I-9 process. The new penalties come after the Bipartisan Budge Act of 2015 was enacted in late November, 2015 which included a section on civil penalties that provided a different formula for inflation adjustment.
The Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer ("OCAHO") released a ruling on June 21, 2016 fining a California restaurant $18,350 for Form I-9 violations, reducing the penalty significantly from the almost $42,000 fine assessed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE"). Administrative Law Judge Stacy S. Paddack ordered East Coast Foods Inc., doing business as Roscoe's House of Chicken N Waffles, to pay a penalty of $18,350, after finding it failed to prepare or present I-9 forms for certain workers, along with other violations related to form completion.
On June 3, 2016, Judge Stacey S. Paddack, a Judge with the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer ("OCAHO") ordered a Texas fruit and vegetable company to pay approximately $14,500 in fines for violations related to the company's Form I-9s. The amount ordered by Judge Paddack represented a reduction of more than half of the amount of the fine originally assessed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement which was $36,465.
A Judge for the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer ordered a Texas-based fruit and vegetable company to pay more than $10,000, in a decision released on Friday, April 22, 2016. Administrative Law Judge Stacy Paddack ordered Jack's Produce Co. to pay $10,550 in penalties after finding the company did not fulfill various I-9 requirements.
Administrative Law Judge Ellen K. Thomas with the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer ruled that Golden Employment Group, Inc., a temporary employment company is liable for over 400 violations related to its I-9 forms according to an Order published on Friday, April 15, 2016. In her Order, Judge Thomas noted that the E-Verify program doesn't claim to shield employers from having to properly complete the I-9 forms.
The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Kenneth A. Polite announced on Thursday, February 18, 2016 that Ke Lian Zhao, 50, of Kenner, pled guilty to employing unauthorized foreign nationals at his restaurant La Jumbo China Buffet ("Jumbo Buffet"). Jumbo Buffet also pled guilty to two counts of making false statements to federal agents.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) has issued its Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2014 on its worksite enforcement efforts as required by federal law. Current worksite enforcement strategies are the result of guidance issued in April, 2009 by the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) Secretary which stated that ICE resources would focus on the worksite enforcement program by performing criminal investigations and prosecuting employers who knowingly hired unauthorized workers as a means of targeting one of the root causes of illegal immigration.