Just as our headline probably grabbed your attention, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) made no secret of a $1 million fine settlement relating to employment verification reached with a major, national retailer in late September. An I-9 audit of the company’s Michigan stores led to the discovery of several technology-related deficiencies in the company’s electronic I-9 verification system. Thus, although there were no findings that the company had knowingly hired unauthorized workers, the company was still subjected to a major penalty.
This news story is a reminder to employers of the financial risks that come with I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification non-compliance. Aside from creating and following sound I-9 policies, training persons responsible for I-9 completion, and auditing I-9 records and procedures, employers that have adopted or are exploring the possibility of adopting electronic I-9 systems must be careful in selecting or developing such a system. Specific requirements for electronic systems are delineated in immigration regulations, as discussed in the August 2010 issue of the Immigration eAuthority. As the ICE press release demonstrates, such regulatory standards must be carefully followed.