In 1986, a law passed requiring employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of its employees. The law also created sanctions for employment-related violations. It is critical that employers develop short- and long-term solutions relating to employment hiring practices, employment authorization verification, and document handling and retention in order to avoid potential criminal and civil penalties. The attorneys at Wilson Law Group are experienced in providing counsel in this area, as well as assisting large and small businesses in the event of government inspections.
Agents from U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) or auditors can conduct inspections of Form I-9 for compliance.
The inspection process is initiated by the service of a Notice of Inspection (NOI) upon an employer, ordering the production of I-9 forms. Sometimes, ICE will require the employer to provide other documents in addition to the I-9 forms, such as a list of all current employers of a copy of payroll.
ICE agents or auditors then inspect the I-9 forms and documents for compliance. Where procedural or technical violations are found, ICE or auditors may give the employer a certain period of time to correct the violation. Where, however, ICE or auditors determine that the employer knowingly hired or continued to employ unauthorized workers, ICE or auditors can impose a fine, order to cease the activity, or in some instances criminal prosecution. In determining penalty/fine amounts, ICE generally considers five factors: size of the business, good faith effort to comply, seriousness of violation, whether the violation involved unauthorized workers, and history of previous violations.
There are several different types of notices that ICE or auditors may issue to an audited employer, inculding a Warning Notice, Notice of Suspect Documents, or Notice of Discrepancies.
If your company is under review or received a notice relating to a potential violation, it is important to know your rights and develop a sound plan of action. Contact the experienced attorneys at Wilson Law Group to schedule a consultation for more information about the process and how our office can assist you or your company.