On Oct 01 2010 by Klasko Immigration

Abercrombie & Fitch Fined After I-9 Audit

On September 28, 2010, U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it reached a $1,047,110 fine settlement with the clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch for I-9 violations.  The settlement was reached after ICE conducted an audit of the company’s I-9 records in November 2008 for stores located in Michigan. 

Abercrombie & Fitch used electronic software to complete the I-9 forms and retain the appropriate records as required by the Immigration & Nationality Act.  The audit revealed numerous deficiencies in the I-9 software that the company had selected.  Since the initial investigation, Abercrombie & Fitch has taken steps to cure the deficiencies in its I-9 procedures to ensure that future violations do not occur. 

In its press release about the settlement, Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of ICE HSI for Ohio and Michigan, stated that, “Employers are responsible not only for the people they hire but also for the internal systems they choose to utilize to manage their employment process and those systems must result in effective compliance…We are pleased to see Abercrombie working diligently to complete the implementation of an effective compliance system; however, we know that there are other companies who are not doing so. This settlement should serve as a warning to other companies that may not yet take the employment verification process seriously or provide it the attention it warrants.”  The I-9 regulations provide that if the employer uses an electronic I-9 system and that system does not meet the standards for data capture and record-keeping, ICE may invalidate the I-9s, leaving employers like Abercrombie vulnerable to expansive fines.

Klasko reminds employers that selecting an appropriate software platform is essential for those companies making the transition to electronic completion and storage of the Form I-9.  If an employer chooses to move to an electronic I-9 compliance system, the software must meet certain standards to capture the required data and retain the same content as the paper I-9.  Your Klasko Law attorney is integral in both sending requests for proposals to electronic I-9 vendors and determining whether all of the elements of the paper I-9 are present in the software platform.  For more information, visit our Worksite Compliance website and contact your Klasko Law attorney.