Recently, the U.S. Senate voted out of the Judiciary Committee proposed new legislation which will significantly increase penalties upon employers…
Recently, the U.S. Senate voted out of the Judiciary Committee proposed new legislation which will significantly increase penalties upon employers for paperwork violations and for knowingly hiring undocumented workers. The civil fine for knowingly hiring or employing an undocumented worker will be increased from the present range of $375 – $3,200 to $3,500 – $7,500. We have observed that these penalties should not be applicable to most of our employers as they have implemented internal checks and safeguards to avoid hiring unauthorized workers. However, if your company outsources some of the work and it is performed on your premises under your direction, it will be prudent for you to visit with our attorneys to discuss appropriate strategies to minimize possible future fines. Moreover, Wal-Mart outsourced the duties and responsibilities for cleaning its stores to independent companies and yet, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was able to get a very substantial “donation” from Wal-Mart to the magnitude of $11 million to avoid USICE prosecution on an employer sanction violations. Thus, even through the workers were not Wal-Mart employees, the government concluded that because of the place of employment and direction by Wal-Mart that they qualified as employees under immigration law and that Wal-Mart apparently had culpable knowledge of their being undocumented workers.
An even more serious matter is the increase of the paperwork violation fines from $110 – $1,100 to a minimum of $500 – $8,000 per violation. I am fearful that many employers will be impacted by the substantial fine increments and accordingly, I am recommending that you contact your senators and congressmen to urge them to moderate the fines, particularly the paperwork violations in which many of those errors are made by your administrative staff unknowingly or carelessly. Unfortunately, the employer will have to bear the brunt of those indiscretions in a much more punitive manner if these harsh fines are ultimately enacted. Whether you support comprehensive immigration reform or not, it is imperative that you communicate your opposition to paperwork fine increments and that your employees, particularly around the country, notify their respective senators and congressmen to moderate the paperwork fine increments as they will impose an onerous burden on your business for likely minor violations most likely incurred unknowingly.
Should you have any questions in this regard, please feel free to contact our office.