2019 was unquestionably a busy year for the Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). No doubt you heard on the news about one of Homeland Security Investigations’ workplace warrants over the past year. Less newsworthy, the I-9 audits spiked as well, with no signs of slowing down. For example, in FY2017, there were 1,360 I-9 audits, in FY2018, there were 5,981 – a 340% increase.
It is easy think that of all the employers in the United States “only” 5,981 I-9 audits took place – thus, your overall chance of being audited are low, right? Perhaps, but like anything else, if you are audited (and we have had several employers in the past year that were), there is about a 75% chance that you do in fact have Form I-9 violations, all of which are avoidable. In fact, when we assist employers with internal audits, we spot audit about every 10th Form I-9. Of those, we find a technical violation on almost every form, which the employer can proactively correct. As detailed below, the potential penalties, for what seems like a simple form, can be staggering. The largest fine that has been levied against an employer to date is $95 million.
If your business is audited, here is what you are looking at for possible penalties:
How to Best Avoid Potential Penalties
A few steps now can save a lot of headache (and fines) later:
We are certainly able to assist with any of the above, and routinely do so (both internal audits and responding to ICE investigations). We have conducted supervisor training, HR training, and can put processes in place for your business to be compliant – and stay complaint - with the DHS requirements. If you have any questions, please contact Corie Anderson at 952-921-4615 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or any of the Peters, Revnew, Kappenman & Anderson attorneys.