I-9 Warning: Original Section 2 Documents Must Be Examined in Person

The Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer  (OCAHO) has upheld a fine of almost $228,000. The employer was using a third party to complete section 2 of the I-9. The third party (located in Texas) was viewing the documents and if they looked legitimate, photocopies were then sent to the company in gavelMinnesota who signed off on the I-9. According to the OCAHO, “The I-9 form does not say that the certifier examined copies of the employees’ documents; it says that the certifier examined the documents presented by the above-named employee. It is simply impossible, moreover, for a payroll administrator in Edina, Minnesota to determine whether a document reasonably appears to relate to an individual when the administrator never saw the individual and the individual only presented original documents to a different person more than a thousand miles away in El Paso, Texas.” The employer signing the I-9 must view the original copies in person. The interesting point in this case  is that the employer had no other major violations. They did not hire any undocumented workers, yet they were handed a massive fine that was upheld after an appeal. This is a warning to other employers similar to our previous article about E-Verify. Companies need to make sure that they have policies and procedures in place to avoid violations and the fines that accompany them.

Protecting Workers from Silica Exposure

OSHA and NIOSH have jointly issued a hazard alert regarding the dangers of silica exposure during the manufacturing and installation of stone counter tops. The alert mentions a workers in Spain and Israel who developed a disease called silicosis.

Silicosis is an incurable disease that is often disabling and unfortunately can be fatal. According to the OSHA news release, “Symptoms of silicosis include shortness of breath, cough, and fatigue. Workers exposed to airborne crystalline silica also are at increased risk for lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease  ”

To learn more about how to protect workers from silica you can visit https://www.osha.gov/dsg/topics/silicacrystalline/index.html.

 

 

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Employers Enrolled in E-Verify Should be Aware of Increased Government Surveillance

When a company participates in E-Verify they may be simultaneously opening  themselves to extra scrutiny. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is now focusing more on enforcement and less on outreach (Sorenson).

The government agencies that handle immigration and other related matters are working together at an increasing rate (Mehfoud).

They have a branch called E-Verify Monitoring and Compliance (M&C). If M&C suspects employer wrongdoing or behavior that could be discriminatory they refer the employer to other government agencies, such as DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) (Mehfoud).

For example, Employer Solutions Staffing Group was recently fined $226,270 for seemingly minor I-9 violations.

An important lesson to learn from this case is that this company was handed a massive fine even though no one was an unauthorized worker. Companies need to be aware of the increased scrutiny and make sure their policies and procedures will enable them to handle the increased surveillance.

 

The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.

Works Cited:

Mehfoud, Christine. “E-Verify = Increased Government Scrutiny.” HR Hero Line. HR Hero, 28 Jan. 2015. Web. 12 Feb. 2015.

Sorenson, Anita. “E-Verify: Enrollment Up, But DHS Is On The Prowl For Misuse.” Mondaq. 20 Feb. 2014. Web. 12 Feb. 2015.