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Employer Sanctions

Sanctions for Failure to Comply

Failure to comply with employment verification requirements can result in civil and criminal penalties. There are also penalties for preparing, filing or assisting another in the preparation of any application, including a Form I-9, “with knowledge or in reckless disregard of the fact that such application or document was falsely made in whole, or in part, does not relate to the person on whose behalf it was or is being submitted.” Besides fines, there may be criminal prosecution for document fraud, perjury, harboring, obstruction of justice or a “pattern and practice” of knowingly hiring or continuing to hire unauthorized foreign nationals. Employers convicted of having engaged in a pattern or practice of knowingly hiring unauthorized aliens or continuing to employ aliens knowing that they are or have become unauthorized to work in the United States may be fined up to $3,000 per unauthorized employee (when there have been more than two offenses) and/or face up to six month of imprisonment.

If the violations are merely “technical or procedural, an employer will be given ten days to correct the defects so long as the employer had made a “good faith” effort to comply with the requirements. If the employer fails to cure the defects after the ten-day period, the employer will be subject to a fine for the violations. If the violations are deemed “substantive”, the employer will not be given an opportunity to correct the defects and will be subject to an immediate fine. Employers who fail to properly complete, retain, and/or present Forms I-9 for inspection may be fined $110 – $1,100 per employee whose Form I-9 is not properly completed, retained, and/or presented. In 1994 Disneyland paid a fine of $260,000 for its paperwork violations.