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I-9 E-Verify Immigration Compliance

OCAHO gives Company option on terms of paying Penalty; Bruce Buchanan, Siskind Susser

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OCAHO continues to issue lots of decisions in 2013. Today, I am writing about U.S. v. Monadnock Mountain Spring Water, 10 OCAHO no. 1193 (Aug. 2013). As frequently occurs, the inspection involved a small employer. In this case, about 41 employees. Everyone agreed the company failed to timely prepare I-9 forms for 18 employees/former employees. Additionally, the employer committed two other violations. Thus, Monadnock was found to have an error rate of about 49%, which equals $770 per violation on the ICE grid. The issue was whether a proposed penalty of $14,630 would be upheld by OCAHO, especially in light of the company's business losses, its small size, no history of previous violations, and no employment of any unauthorized workers. Usually, these factors will lead OCAHO to show leniency and reduce the penalty. In this case, ICE had already offered the company an opportunity to pay off the penalty over a three-year period of time. OCAHO agreed with both sides and gave the company an option - pay 100% of penalties over a three-year period or pay $10,500 in a lump sum immediately. With the number and amount of penalties increasing, ICE has been offering a payment plan for those companies who can establish financial hardship in paying the penalty. For employers, this is much appreciated and shows ICE is being pragmatic when it comes to paying penalties.

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