Worksite Enforcement

FINES FOR I-9 VIOLATIONS TO INCREASE AUGUST 1, 2016

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.

California Restaurant Fined $18K for Form I-9 Violations

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.

Produce Company Fined $14.5 Thousand for I-9 Violations

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.

Nursing Center Settles DOJ Immigrant Discrimination Case

The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 announced that it had reached a settlement with a San Diego-based skilled nursing facility to resolve claims that the center discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens in violation of federal immigration law. The settlement resolves claims that the facility violated the Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA") by requiring lawful permanent residents to produce specific documents to prove their work authorization while allowing U.S. citizens to provide any valid work authorization documents they chose.

OCAHO Fines Texas Produce Company $10K for I-9 Violations

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.

Temporary Employment Company Found Liable For Over 400 Form I-9 Violations and Fined Over Two Hundred Thousand Dollars

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.

Local Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Employing Unauthorized Workers

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.

ICE Issues FY 2014 Worksite Enforcement Annual Report

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.

DOJ Settles Discrimination Claim with Florida Landscaping Company

The Office of Special Counsel with the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) settled with Sunny Grove Landscaping & Nursery Inc., after finding that it discriminated against lawful permanent residents by requiring them to produce permanent resident cards to prove work authorization. As part of its Settlement Agreement with the DOJ, Sunny Grove will pay $7,500 in civil penalties and undergo anti-discrimination training.