Not Complying with Law means fines and penalties that can really hurt your business. Take for instance a recent action against Asplundh Tree Experts, Co. – one of the largest privately-held companies in the United States – by the Department of Justice. The company was sentenced to pay $80,000,000.00 and an additional $15,000,000.00 to satisfy civil claims arising out of their failure to comply with U.S. immigration law by unlawfully employing illegal workers.
What law was violated? It was the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). Federal law requires companies to employ only individuals who may legally work in the United States – either U.S. citizens, or foreign citizens who have the necessary authorization.
We have an excellent resource called HR360 to help manage compliance in this area. If you would like a free subscription to the service for one year, just write an email to us at email@example.com with the words SUBSCRIBE TO HR360 in the subject line.
Verifying Employment Eligibility: Form I-9 and E-Verify (eVerify)
IRCA seeks to control illegal immigration by eliminating employment opportunity as an incentive for unauthorized persons to come to the United States, by prohibiting the hiring or continued employment of aliens whom employers know are unauthorized to work in the United States. More information is available with a subscription to HR360.
U.S. law requires companies to employ only individuals who may legally work in the United States – either U.S. citizens, or foreign citizens who have the necessary authorization. E-Verify is an Internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. More information is available with a subscription to HR360
There are Poster Requirements, Discrimination Issues, rules about hiring Foreign Labor and Permanent Workers and Temporary Workers. All of these issues can be further researched with a subscription to our HR360 service.
Getting back to the decision, according to court documents, from 2010 until December 2014, Asplundh, an industry leader in tree trimming and brush clearance for power and gas lines, hired and rehired employees in many regions in the United States accepting identification documents it knew to be false and fraudulent. A six-year HSI audit and investigation revealed that the company decentralized its hiring so Sponsors (the highest levels of management) could remain willfully blind while Supervisors and General Foremen (2nd and 3rd level supervisors) hired ineligible workers, including unauthorized aliens, in the field. Hiring was by word of mouth referrals rather than through any systematic application process. This manner of hiring enabled Supervisors and General Foremen to hire a work force that was readily available and at their disposal.
This decentralized model tacitly perpetuated fraudulent hiring practices that, in turn, maximized productivity and profit. With a motivated work force, including unauthorized aliens willing to be relocated and respond to weather related events around the nation, Asplundh had crews which were easily mobilized that enabled them to dominate the market. Asplundh provided all the incentives to managers to skirt immigration law.
“Today marks the end of a lengthy investigation by ICE Homeland Security Investigations into hiring violations committed by the highest levels of Asplundh’s organization,” said ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan. “Today’s judgment sends a strong, clear message to employers who scheme to hire and retain a workforce of illegal immigrants: we will find you and hold you accountable. Violators who manipulate hiring laws are a pull factor for illegal immigration, and we will continue to take action to remove this magnet.”