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.
Employment Background Investigations is a technology driven leader in domestic and global pre-employment background checks, drug testing, occupational health screening and I-9 compliance. We specialize in development, implementation and management of customized employment screening programs for large and multi-national clients. We are dedicated to information security. EBI is the only NAPBS Accredited background screening company in the world to hold both an ISO 27001:2013 certification for information security and an ISO 9001:2008 certification for Quality Management.
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