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. Specifically the Judge ruled that Golden Employment was liable for failing to timely present I-9 forms for 125 employees and for failing to prepare forms at all for 236 workers. The company also was liable for not making sure that workers had properly completed their I-9s and for other infractions. And, although the company had been using E-Verify for years, the Judge noted that E-Verify does not "purport to insulate an employer from the necessity of proper I-9 completion." Using the E-Verify program, which is an online employment eligibility tool, did not excuse Golden Rule Employment from having to complete I-9 forms for its employees. In a later decision, Judge Thomas found that Golden Employment Group would be liable for a total fine of $209,600. Finding that instances of failing to submit forms were more egregious than the late or improper filings, Thomas assessed a penalty of $500 for each of the 236 missing I-9 Forms and $400 for the 229 late or improperly completed Form I-9s. Judge Thomas stated that while the company's failures to submit the Form I-9s were among the most serious possible violations because such failures frustrate efforts to keep unauthorized aliens out of the workplace, she also said that Golden Employment Group's small size, its cooperation with several government requests through the process and the government's findings that it did not knowingly employ illegal workers weighed in its favor. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had initially assessed a fine of $281,325.