They plan huge fundraising galas and celebratory parades for sports heroes, but event planning expert Hartmann Studios, Inc. made some record breaking mistakes in their I-9 paperwork. The mistakes were so egregious that the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) ordered the company to pay an astounding fine that topped $600,000 for more than 800 mistakes.
This fine was years in the making. In 2011 Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) put the company on notice that there would be an inspection. It took two years, but in 2013 ICE issued a Notice of Intent to Fine on several charges including:
- Hartmann failed to sign Section 2 on nearly 800 I-9 forms
- The company failed to produce I-9s for a dozen employees
- Employees failed to check a box to indicate their immigration status and/or failed to sign the forms
- Employees checked boxes claiming permanent resident or authorized to work status but did not provide their alien registration numbers
- Hartmann failed to complete Section 3 for employees with expired employment authorizations
According to ICE there was an error rate of approximately 90%! The company tried to downplay the gravity of these mistakes, but the OCAHO vigorously disagreed saying some were violations of the most serious kind.
The take-away from this company’s experience is that it pays to do self-audits. It’s essential that you be sure your HR representatives are completing all mandatory forms, and completing them correctly. Don’t discover the problem when ICE knocks at your door.
Learn how using an Electronic Form I-9 program can eliminate this costly mistakes!
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