While we consistently see the harsh side of ICE, lately OCAHO seems to be giving us a glimpse into their slightly less rigid side. 2012 was wrapped up with four important OCAHO decisions: Forsch Polymer, Corp., BKR Restaurants and Barnett Taylor (both doing business as Burger King), and March Construction, Inc. These decisions, taken together, display a trend of the OCAHO court reducing I-9 penalty amounts and giving employers an evenhanded review of their I-9 cases.
What does this mean for the employer?
In the unfortunate event that ICE does audit your company and assess steep penalties, it may be worth the extra mile for employers to request OCAHO review of I-9 fines. While OCAHO does require employers to present compelling evidence to support their claims, as demonstrated by the court in BKR and Barnett, OCAHO will give a fresh eye and look fairly at the evidence presented by the employers, while continuing to hold ICE accountable for their I-9 errors and penalty assessments that have no backing. The penalty reductions in Forsch, BKR, Barnett, and March should serve as a push to employers to request a hearing and seek a reduction in fines, as it seems in most cases the cost of court and attorney fees will likely be marginal in comparison to the reductions in fines that are possible.
Summary: Forsch Polymer, Cor.
Summary: BKR Restaurants and Barnett Taylor
Summary: March Construction, Inc.
Corporate Immigration Attorney
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