The recent example set by a temporary employment firm based in Cranston, Rhode Island, proves that there are no absolutes in any industry – when it comes to meeting federally regulated employment eligibility requirements. In fact numerous staffing firms have been hit with fines and penalties due to non-compliance with Form I-9 related requirements in recent years, with some fines over $200,000.
Compliance failures connected to employee eligibility verification procedures can occur anywhere in which there can be discrimination or simple human error.
"A Rhode Island staffing firm had to pay nearly $17,000 due to I-9 and employee verification violations."
Company leaders should review the case of Provisional Staffing Solutions, which just earned a fine of about $17,000 as well as other penalties due to its unfair practices, to get a better sense of what their own preparations must be when verifying work authorization documents during the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility process.
Agency observed discriminatory practices for months
According to a statement on the settlement released by the Justice Department, Provisional Staffing Solutions chose employee resumes from a diverse pool of applicants, but failed to treat them equally once interviews were successfully conducted and positions were secured. Specifically, Provisional's personnel in charge of hiring requested that any employees who weren't born or naturalized U.S. citizens but lived in the country legally furnish Permanent Resident Cards to prove that they were authorized to work in the United States. Those who claimed to be American citizens weren't made to do the same.
Under the terms of the Immigration and Nationality act, lawful permanent residents of the U.S. - just like citizens - have multiple options regarding what documents they provide an employer to prove their right to work and aren't required by default to show green cards. Provisional flagrantly ignored this aspect of the law for a period of at least eight months, from May to November 2016, and demanded that potential hires furnish their green cards to complete their employment eligibility requirements. Employers must use
Terms of DOJ settlement
As has often been the case in matters of this kind, Provisional opted to settle rather than risk incurring the full weight of a guilty judgment in civil federal court. The agreement's terms demand that the firm pay $16,920 to the federal government, instill mandatory anti-discrimination training among all staff, post any and all appropriate notices informing workers of their federally ordered rights and allow the Justice Department to monitor employment eligibility practices and ensure compliance. The DOJ reported that Provisional, which has not commented publicly on the incident or its settlement, must adhere to these terms for at least three years.
Solutions offered by I-9 Advantage could have helped to prevent discriminatory related practices during the Form I-9 process by helping to ensure a consistent process for document review, and full compliance requirements. To learn more about how to avoid liability and risk of hefty fines and penalties for non-compliance with employment eligibility requirements, contact I-9 Advantage.