Q&A with Charlie Plumb
Fines add up for technical
errors on businesses' I-9 forms
Q. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has ramped up its enforcement activity by conducting audits of Form I-9 documentation at businesses all across the country. If a company doesn't employ undocumented workers, do they have anything to be concerned about?
A. Yes. While ICE is perhaps best known for levying hefty civil and criminal fines on businesses that employ undocumented workers, the agency also has the authority to impose fines on employers for substantive and uncorrected technical violations. Such fines can be as much as $1,100 per violation, so employers must strictly follow federal guidance as outlined in the agency's 70-page “Handbook for Employers.”
Q. What constitutes a technical violation?
A. A technical violation can take many forms, but the four most common violations occur when an employer doesn't retain documents for the required period of time, improperly stores documents, accepts expired documents, and incorrectly alters documents.
Q. In an internal review reveals a mistake on a Form I-9, how should an employer correct the error?