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Government Agency Actions - USCIS, ICE, etc. Green Cards Immigration Compliance

Company Fined $627,000 for I-9 Anti-Discrimination Provision Violations

The Department of Justice (DOJ) finalized a settlement agreement with Fleetlogix Inc. (Fleetlogix) regarding claims that they discriminated again non-US citizens who were work authorized. Fleetlogix is based in San Diego, California and operates offices nationwide that provide cleaning and transportation services to rental car companies.
Specifically, the DOJ alleged that Fleetlogix required these non-US citizens to provide specific and unnecessary work and identity documentations because of their citizenship, nationality and/or immigration status as required by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) by way of completion of a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The DOJ’s investigation found that Fleetlogix required specific documentation, such as I-94s (Arrival/Departure Records), Employment Authorization Documents (work permits) and/or Permanent Resident Cards (green cards), even though the individuals had already presented other valid and legally sufficient documents to prove both their identity and work authorization including drivers’ licenses and unrestricted Social Security cards.

Form I-9 requirements come out of the IRCA. IRCA prohibits employers from hiring and employing an individual for employment in the U.S. knowing that the individual is not authorized with respect to such employment. Employers also are prohibited from continuing to employ an individual knowing that he or she is unauthorized for employment. This law also prohibits employers from hiring any individual, including a U.S. citizen, for employment in the U.S. without verifying his or her identity and employment authorization on Form I-9.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)’s anti-discrimination provision prohibits employers from requesting more or different documents than necessary to prove work authorization and identity. Congress by way of the INA, determined that all work-authorized individuals could choose which valid, legally acceptable documents to present to prove their work authorization and identity on the Form I-9. The INA does not permit employers to request specific or additional documentation if the documents presented are genuine looking documents.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Fleetlogix will pay fines/civil penalties of $627,000, create a back pay fund for individuals who lost their jobs due to the discrimination, train employees responsible for the completion of the Form I-9 on the requirements of the INA’s anti-discrimination provisions and change their internal I-9 policies and procedures.
Categories
Immigration Compliance

E-Verify Employer Found Liable for 129 Form I-9 Violations

Golf International DBA Desert Canyon Golf, an E-Verify employer, was found liable for 129 Form I-9 violations by the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Office (OCAHO).  This included 125 violations consisting of failure to ensure that employees properly completed Section 1 of Form I-9 and/or failure to properly completing Section of Form I-9 and four violations consisting of failure to prepare and/or present Forms I-9.  The total fine was $136,697.00.  In its decision, OCAHO made it clear that the good faith defense is only available for technical and procedural Form I-9 violations and that participation in E-Verify DOES NOT exempt an employer from properly completing, retaining and producing for inspection Forms I-9 that relate to its employees.  This is a good reminder that all employers should audit their Forms I-9 and review any internal procedures regarding the proper completion and retention of their Forms I-9 on a regular basis.  Remember – An employer’s first and most important responsibility is to properly complete a Form I-9 for each new employee regardless of whether or not they use E-Verify.