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. Specifically, Judge Paddack said the company did not ensure that two employees signed Section 1 of their forms, didn't sign the employer attestation for three people, failed to prepare forms for a group of people within three days of hire and did not identify the "issuing authority" of the ID documents for several people. Although Immigration and Customs Enforcement ('ICE") had sought $15,988 in penalties, Judge Paddack reduced the fine by a little more than $5,000 stating that ICE's suggested penalties were "disproportionate" to the violations and mitigating factors in the case. Judge Paddack found that the proposed penalty did not distinguish between the differing Form I-9 infractions that the company had committed and noted that the types of paperwork violations present in the case constituted differing degrees of seriousness.