Our Employment Attorneys have noticed a significant increase in the number of audits by the United States Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) branch of the Department of Homeland Security. In fact, the agency has stated that it is increasing its efforts to crack down on employers who do not comply with immigration laws in the workplace. Employers who hire undocumented workers or who fail to complete the required immigration forms upon hiring are at risk for serious penalties for their legal deficiencies. The department recently announced that it intended to audit the hiring records of 1,000 employers of all sizes across the country. During the fiscal year 2011, in total, there have been approximately 2,500 I-9 audits. Although the audits are supposed to be random, our employment lawyers expect certain industries to face greater scrutiny – such as the agricultural, construction and hospitality industries.
In addition, employers who have access to sensitive government information could be subject to an increased likelihood of audits. Examples of industries at greater list include financial services, transportation services (air, rail and train), healthcare (hospitals and medical providers) and food providers. Businesses who have a history of compliance with the law and who are already enrolled and use the E-Verify program may be less likely to be selected for an audit. Conversely, employers who have a history of employment-based immigration violations are more likely to be audited.
During an audit, the ICE agency will seek to determine if your company has complied with all immigration laws regarding employees including but not limited to confirming that each employee is authorized to work in the United States and that a complete I-9 immigration form is completed for each employee. Employers who fail to follow immigration regulations in the workplace do so at great risk. It is very important for employers to review their own employment practices before a government audit is ordered because the time to respond to a government audit is very short (i.e., 3 business days) and the adverse consequences could be severe (e.g., costly monetary fines, required termination of undocumented workers and potential jail time). Proper documentation and employment practices are important for all businesses as the government has audited large employers such as Walmart and small local-businesses.
Our Employment Law Attorneys have assisted many companies with implementing best practices and learning how to be proactive in protecting your business’ assets. Contact our law firm at (800) 893-9645 for a confidential consultation to learn how to develop proven human resources practices and how to best protect you against an audit and during an audit. It is much more cost-effective for a business to institute policies and procedures in place before an government audit is started. Finally, if your business has received an audit notice, our lawyers can defend and protect your business and represent you in the ICE proceeding.
Thank you for visiting our Blog. This blog provides general information and thoughts about various employment law issues primarily in the New York Tri-State area and occasionally in other areas. You are welcome to read the posts. However, do not construe any content on this blog as legal advice or the creation of an attorney-client relationship. Again, we provide the content only for informational purposes. You should not make decisions based information on our blog since the application of the law depends on the facts and each situation may be different. In addition, the law in most jurisdictions is different and changes constantly and we make no representations that any information on our blog has been updated. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from an experienced employment law attorney in your state or jurisdiction.