On June 27, 2013, the OSC announced that it had reached a settlement with Macy’s Retail Holdings, Inc.; Macy’s Florida Stores, LLC; Macy’s Puerto Rico, Inc.; and Macy’s West Stores, Inc. (collectively, "Macy’s"), over claims that it discriminated against immigrant employees during the employment eligibility verification process. The OSC asserted that Macy’s engaged in unfair documentary practices by refusing to accept documents that reasonably appeared to be genuine on their face and by asking for more or different documents in re-verifying the work authorization of these employees. Under the settlement, Macy’s agreed to pay $175,000 in civil penalties and to set up a $100,000 fund to compensate any employees damaged as a result of its practices. Macy’s also agreed to review and revise its employment eligibility verification and re-verification policies, train its human resources personnel in the employment eligibility verification process and proper use of the E-Verify system, be subject to monitoring by the OSC, and abide by reporting requirements for two years.
The Macy’s settlement underscores the dangers that employers face if they focus too intently on compliance with the Form I-9 employment eligibility verification process. The immigration laws also contain anti-discrimination provisions and define unfair immigration-related employment practices that employers must avoid during the Form I-9 process. With the emphasis on Form I-9 compliance, many employers forget these provisions and the substantial penalties and other obligations that they carry. The Macy’s settlement is but the latest reminder to employers on the importance of training staff on these other aspects of the Form I-9 process.