According to QSRweb.com, a website reporting on news, events, and trends in the quick-service restaurant-industry, food service and high-tech manufacturing are among the industries being targeted for illegal hiring practices.
The United States Immigrations Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently launched a new “silent raid” against the hiring of illegal workers by raiding 1,000 businesses nationwide.
These companies will be required to submit a full audit of their I-9 paperwork, including weekly work schedules, managers’ names and names of temporary staffing agencies. Companies found guilty are heavily fined, and illegal workers are fired.
Even if restaurant owners never hired illegal workers, restaurants can still face large fines for incorrect or missing paperwork for legal workers.
If I-9 paperwork for every employee is not correct and on file, you run the risk of receiving a hefty fine if audited, and fines can range from $110 to $1,110 per form, depending on the violation.
“Even a small typo, such as filling in the wrong start date for an employee, will result in a fine.”
QSRweb.com offers four tips on surviving an ICE audit
1) Know Your Responsibilities
I-9 E-Verification is required on all Federal contract work. An additional 17 states require it on some or all types of employment. As E-Verify policies change, make sure you remain compliant. Some HR solutions are connected to the government’s E-Verify site and can help automate the process while ensuring you’re in compliance.
2) Train Your Team
Make sure that everyone on your team who hires employees, including managers and your HR team, are properly trained. It is imperative that they understand the importance and legal ramifications for not meeting I-9 requirements or incorrectly completing paperwork.
3) Keep Great Records
Producing I-9 forms for inspection is required within three days of being requested. Keeping I-9 paperwork in an employee’s personal file is a common practice, but it’s recommended that all I-9 forms are kept together in a single location together to make the audit process easier to access at a moment’s notice. Also, be sure to keep all files in a secure location as they contain personal information. Some automated HR solutions provide an online repository where these documents can be maintained electronically.
4) Be Prepared for ICE Raid In Advance
Maintaining paper files can be time-consuming and susceptible to getting lost or misplaced. Using an online I-9 Verification software can save a lot of time and ensure complete compliance. When considering which software is best, make sure it offers: electronic I-9 form completion and storage, deadline tracking, automatic completion alerts and reminders, and full support in case an ICE audit occurs.
To be safe during an ICE raid, prep for it on a regular basis. Understanding the legal and financial risks of incompliance and how to mitigate these risks is imperative. Likewise, find the tools and technology that can help you the best. Like G.I. Joe says “Knowing is the half the battle.”