Just recently, a hotel operator was investigated for knowingly hiring an illegal alien and has now pled guilty to the charges. Paul Younes owned and managed several hotels including one that employed an illegal alien. Rather than ensuring his company was following federal law, businessman Paul Younes instead continued to employ her while going to certain lengths to make it all happen.
To protect the employee and keep her working at his hotel, Paul Younes even arranged for the individual to be removed from regular payroll and "re-hired" her as an independent contractor. She would be the only employee there with these unique conditions and the U.S. government eventually investigated. To maintain her cover and keep employment going for the illegal alien, Paul Younes even changed her name and this all did not sit well with the federal government.
While Paul Younes apologized and took full responsibility, it is not just he who will suffer the consequences as Kearney Hospitality Inc. also has a suit against it by the Federal Government. The potential result may well see a half-million dollar fine and up to five years of probation for the company. As for Mr. Younes, he faces six months in prison along with a fine and is another example of how seriously employment-verification laws are enforced.
In another very recent case, a fruit picking company that had been operating under the unique demands of managing temporary labor, settled with the Office of Special Counsel. The investigation into Rio Grande Pak Foods, Ltd. revealed that while the operators had to deal with hiring and providing workers very quickly, they also had failed to ensure rules were followed.
Some of the workers who were included in the governments investigation were even denied by Rio Grande Pak Foods, Ltd. as ever being their employer. Other individuals would complete Form I-9s using the same social security number that was simply shared around the room and the company also violated these rules in a pattern or practice.
As the year is well underway, employers may take the opportunity to gain insight into their own practices and make any improvements before its too late. The government will only increase the responsibility employers currently have to verify workers and more importantly will continue with all enforcement efforts. The effort taken by employers to enter business, gain clients, and maintain their growth is surely worth the trouble to prevent any liabilities caused by Form I-9 violations.
Labels: charges for illegal hiring, DHS, doj, employer charged, employment verification, everify, Form I-9, Form I-9 violation, government suit, immigration, settlement with justice department