During the first quarter of 2015, The Office of Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) issued five decisions involving employer violations related to Form I-9. In its latest decision (United States v. Liberty Packaging, Inc., 2/24/15), OCAHO found that the employer committed “systematic and deliberate falsification” in Section 2 of Form I-9, after a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audit revealed that the company’s HR Manager backdated numerous forms between two and 20 years from the actual date of hire. OCAHO stated in its decision that the company “cannot be said to indicate good faith” in handling its I-9 program and subsequent ICE inspection. ICE proposed a penalty of $19,354, which OCAHO lowered to $11,700 due to the company’s resources (or lack thereof).

The penalties for I-9 noncompliance can be severe and jeopardize a company’s viability. It is important to retain adequate counsel to conduct regular I-9 audits, to mitigate or eliminate any liability to the employer. Below is the fine schedule released by ICE:

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Enhancement Matrix

ICE uses the following matrix to enhance or mitigate the recommended fine contained on the Notice of Intent to Fine.

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Charts source: Form I-9 Inspection OverviewNote: These fines are issued per violation.