DLS Precision Fab was recently fined $305,050 for more than 500 immigration violations of 8 U.S.C. § 1324a, 489 of which were I-9 compliance related. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires employers to use Form I-9 to verify that employees are authorized to work in the U.S., and to retain them for possible inspection. Employers are prohibited from knowingly continuing to employ “an unauthorized alien with respect to such employment.”
The Phoenix-based company hired a “well credentialed human resources director” to handle its expansion and to comply with employment laws. Unbeknownst to DLS, their new HR director shirked his duty to ensure compliance to the point “of literally stuffing the government’s correspondence in a drawer and never responding.”
DLS claimed it had no idea it was in violation of the law and in trouble with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The company argued that it made a “good-faith” effort to comply with INA by hiring an HR director.
However, the Ninth Circuit denied DLS’ petition to review a judge’s finding that it was liable for 504 violations, including I-9 paperwork violations, and knowingly employing 15 individuals ineligible to work in the U.S. According to the court, “DLS was not the first employer to expect an employee to comply with the law only to be disappointed—and DLS was essentially asking the court to disregard the company’s responsibility to hire and supervise its own employees. The HR director was acting as the company’s agent and his failure could properly be imputed to DLS.”
This ruling sends a clear message to employers – You are responsible to supervise your employees and hiring processes. With the increasing scrutiny on employers by ICE, it is imperative that your I-9 program is compliant.
Cisive has created an informative white paper, The Impact of I-9 and E-Verify Legislation on U.S. Employers, which examines the current status of I-9 and E-Verify legislation and how changes have and may continue to impact U.S. employers.