Form I-9 Violations Lead to $209,600 Fine for Staffing Company

FormI-9

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

In the Final Decision and Order in the case of U.S. v. Golden Employment Group, Inc., 12 OCAHO nos. 1274 and 1277 (2016), the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) found a staffing company liable for 465 Form I-9 violations resulting in civil penalties in the total amount of $209,600.

In the ruling, Administrative Law Judge Ellen K. Thomas found the staffing company liable for 140 Form I-9 violations concerning the failure to timely present I-9 forms, 236 Form I-9 violations for failure to prepare and/or present I-9 forms, and 89 Form I-9 violations for failure to properly complete I-9 forms.

The penalties for the 236 Form I-9 violations involving the failure to prepare or present I-9 forms at all were assessed at $500 each. For the remaining 229 Form I-9 violations – the 140 involving the failure to timely present I-9 forms and the 89 involving paperwork errors – the penalties were $400 each.

In addition, the staffing company argued in court that because it used E-Verify – an internet-based employment eligibility verification system that compares information from a Form I-9 with government records data – “there should be no penalties for failure to timely prepare and/or present I-9 forms.”

However, Judge Thomas wrote the “E-Verify program does not purport to insulate an employer from the necessity of proper I-9 completion” and that participation in the E-Verify program “does not exempt an employer from the requirements to complete, retain, and produce I-9 forms for its employees.”

U.S. employers must complete the Form I-9 for all newly hired employees to verify their identity and authorization to work in the United States. The final Decision and Order in this case is available at www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/pages/attachments/2016/05/04/1277.pdf.

The Form I-9 is undergoing a change. As reported by ESR News, on March 2016 the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a 30-day notice in the Federal Register inviting public comment on proposed changes to the current Form I-9. This comment period has expired.

The USCIS, the federal agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States, also told employers to continue to use the current Form I-9 until the new version of the Form I-9 is released even though the current Form I-9 displays “Expires 03/31/2016” in the upper right hand corner.

More ESR News Blogs about the Form I-9 are at http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/tag/form-1-9/.

ESR Helps Employers with Form I-9 Compliance

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global provider of fast, accurate, affordable, and compliant background checks – is also a Designated E-Verify Employer Agent that helps businesses with Form I-9 compliance. For more information, please call 888.999.4474 or visit www.esrcheck.com.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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