Severe Civil Penalties for Employers in California if Served with An I-9 Notice of Inspection

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In California, employers have another penalty to worry about when it comes to immigration related practices, particularly I-9 inspection process.

Signed by Governor Jerry Brown on October 5, 2017, and effective January 1, 2018, CA Assembly Bill 450 has several provisions that enforce stricter I-9 inspection process and propose severe fines for non-compliance. Here’s a simplified explanation of how the newly passed bill influences employers.

No Voluntary Consent Without Warrant

An employer cannot provide voluntary consent to an immigration enforcement agent to any nonpublic areas of a place of labor without a warrant.

An employer who violates this provision (Section 7285.1 of the CA Government Code) is subject to a civil penalty of:

o   Two thousand dollars ($2,000) up to five thousand dollars ($5,000) for a first violation

o   Five thousand dollars ($5,000) up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for each subsequent violation.

Employees Must Be Notified of Any I-9 Inspections

The Bill also includes several provisions aimed at notifying employees once a Notice of Inspection of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification has been received.

These provisions were added to the CA Labor Code 90.2 and 1019.2 where the employer must:

Provide a notice to each current employee of any inspections of Form I-9 or other employment records conducted by an immigration agency within 72 hours of receiving notice of the inspection.

Mandatory Elements of Notice

The posting must contain the following:

o   Be in the language the employer normally uses to communicate employment-related information to the employee.

o   The name of the immigration agency conducting the I-9 inspection.

o   The date that the employer received notice of the inspection.

o   The nature of the inspection to the extent known

o   A copy of the Notice of Inspection of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms for the inspection to be conducted.

o   Upon reasonable request, shall provide an affected employee a copy of the Notice of Inspection of I-9.

Severe Civil Penalties Due to Violations

An employer who violates this Section 90.2 of the CA Labor Code is subject to a civil penalty of:

o   Two thousand dollars ($2,000) up to five thousand dollars ($5,000) for a first violation

o   Five thousand dollars ($5,000) up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for each subsequent violation.

Safety Measures Against Fineable Offenses

If you think these are not enough of a reason to comply with CA AB 450, the Bill has additional language aimed at prohibiting the employer from reverifying eligibility of employment. The penalty for doing so subjects the employer to a fine of up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Having employees complete paper I-9’s and/or using an electronic solution that is not integrated with eVerify opens up the possibility of fineable offenses.

Protect your budget from clerical errors by turning to our I-9 electronic platform that is fully integrated with eVerify, and powered by human subject matter experts. We ensure I-9 compliance, cost-effectiveness, and 24/7 support for your team.

Feel free to contact us at info@emptech.com or at 800.518.3874 to learn more about how we can help you conduct a seamless I-9 verification process.

Full version of CA AB 450 can be found here.