The Justice Department today reached a settlement agreement with Kinro Manufacturing Inc. in Indiana, resolving allegations of discrimination against work-authorized non-citizens in the employment eligibility verification process. The company is a manufacturer of components for recreational vehicles and manufactured homes.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Kinro Manufacturing will pay a $25,000 civil penalty and $10,000 in back pay to the injured party. They will also alter their practices, train human resources personnel, and provide periodic reports to the department for one year.
According to the department’s findings, the company subjected newly hired non-U.S. citizens to excessive demands for documents in order to verify their employment eligibility, but did not require U.S. citizens to show the same documentation. The charging party, a lawful permanent resident, filed his charge of discrimination after he was required to provide additional proof of his employment eligibility not required by law before he could begin work at the company. The Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from placing additional documentary burdens on workauthorized employees during the hiring and employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status or national origin.
If you have questions about the employment eligibility verification process please contact our office at info at harms-law.com.
The DOJ press release can be found at: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/August/11-ag-1098.html
The National Conference of State Legistlatures created a FAQ on the E-Verify program. Here is the link to the FAQ: http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?TabId=13127
The E-Verify program was created as a voluntary Internet-based pilot program to help employers verify the work authorization of new hires. This program remains voluntary in California but 18 states have an E-Verify requirement. In 2011 alone, ten states enacted legislation requiring the use of E-Verify – Alabama, Florida (executive order), Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. Eighteen states now have an E-Verify requirement.
The program applies to U.S. citizens and noncitizens. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration.
While the administration of George W. Bush focused on headline-making raids that resulted in arrests of immigrant workers, the Obama administration has gone after employers with ICE’s I-9 audits on the theory that employers who hire unauthorized workers create the demand that drives most illegal immigration. Nationally, from fiscal year 2009 to date, ICE has initiated Form I-9 inspections against nearly 4,000 businesses resulting in fines of nearly $7 million. Employers are required to complete and retain a Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This form requires employers to review and record the individual’s identity and employment eligibility document(s) and determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine and related to the individual. Additionally, an employer must ensure that the employee provides certain information regarding his or her eligibility to work on the Form I-9. The New York Times ran a story on July 14, 2011 that discussed the effect that an I-9 audit can have on a business. The article focuses on the case of a California employer, David Cox, whose I-9 audit revealed that 26 of his 99 employees were not authorized to work in the United States. Because ICE determined he had acted reasonably in hiring them, Mr. Cox was not fined or held criminally liable. But after confirming that the 26 employees could not produce authentic documents, he was forced to fire them. The article discusses the economic effect that this had on his business.
Here is the link to the full article:
On September 23, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement criminally charged an owner and a top executive with knowingly hiring undocumented aliens. The charges carry a maximum penalty of six months in prison.
ICE claims that after ICE notified the employer that employees had used false “green cards” to obtain their jobs, the employee failed to terminate these individuals.
These arrests is less than two weeks after ICE arrested other employers the Los Angeles area on similar charges.
Please visit the “Worksite Enforcement” tab under the “Information” section on this website for further resouces on worksite enforcement.
Last week, on Septmber 15th, I presented to the Alameda County chapter of the California Employers Advisory Council on Worksite Enforcement issues. The audience asked for a copy of this presentation, so I have inserted it into this blog post, Alameda EAC Worksite Enforcement. This presentation includes information about e-Verify, I-9s, social security “no-match” letters, as well as recommendations for employers to follow to protect themselves from a possible worksite enforcement action.
I would also direct participants to visit the Worksite Enforcement Tab on this website under “Information” for further resources.
Beginning on September 8, federal contractors and subcontractors are required to use the E-Verify system to verify their employees’ eligibility to work in the United States if their contract includes the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause. Applicable federal contracts awarded after September 8, 2009 will include a clause committing government contractors to use E-Verify within 30 days of the contract award date. With certain exceptions, E-Verify will only be used to confirm that new hires are legally authorized to work in the United States. The USCIS released a Supplemental Guide on E-Verify For Federal Contractors on September 8, 2009 which contains detailed instructions regarding the use of E-Verify as well as which contractors and subcontractors are covered by this new rule.