On September 16, ICE released a notice of the agency’s intent to issue more than 500 Notices of Inspections (NOI) to companies throughout the United States in the following week. According to ICE, the up tick in inspections is due to a growing number of leads on employers allegedly engaging in illegal hiring practices and exploiting workers through unfair wages and other means.
During current audits and inspections, ICE is not only asking for I-9 forms but also a variety of other related documents and/or information including:
- List of all current employees with dates of hire
- List of all terminated employees with hire and termination dates
- Copies of quarterly wage and hour reports and/or payroll data for all employees
- Quarterly tax statements
- Assigned account numbers for E-Verify or the Social Security Number Verification Service
- Employer Identification Number (EIN), Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), business owner’s SSN, address, telephone numbers, and email addresses, copies of business licenses and any other important information.
- Company Standard Operating Procedure or Policies outlining hiring practices
- Company management organizational chart
- List of all Contractors, Sub-Contractors and Independent Contractors
- List of all recruiters or employee referrers for a fee
- List of all temporary labor agencies
This ongoing enforcement effort should remind employers of the importance of the employment eligibility (I-9) verification process, since even inadvertent paperwork errors may expose a company to significant fines, and neglectful violations could subject an employer to criminal penalties and sanctions.
As an example, one recent judgment against a drywall company found that the company had engaged in 66 violations of failing to present or properly complete sections of the I-9 form for a number of employees, many of whom did not have authorization to work in the United States. The company was ordered to pay more than $32,000 in fines.