Bad Recordkeeping Leads to Massive Fines

Abercrombie & Fitch - the Ohio-based clothier that sells trendy clothes to teens has agreed to pay 1,047,110 to settle a fine imposed by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcment office in the Department of Homeland Security.

ICE stated the company violated the Immigration Nationality Act which is related to the verification of the employment eligibility of workers.

Following a November 2008 audit of the company's stores located in Michigan, ICE found there were "numerous technology-related deficiencies" in the companys electronic I9 verification system. ICE was careful to note that "no instances of knowing hire of unauthorized workers were discovered."

Even though Ambercrombie & Fitch did not knowingly hire illegal workers, they are still subject to the fines.

A senior ICE official states, "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 Ambercrombie working diligently to complete the implementation of an effective compliance systm; 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 system seriously or provide it the attention it warrants."

ICE did not release the specific information regarding what led to the fines. They stated there was no instance of knowingly hiring illegal workers, but that ICE does look at employers suspected of cultivating illegal workplaces which leads to the hiring of illegal immigrants.

Keeping records well organized and streamlined falls under the employers responsibility. Ambercrombie may have lost track of organization, proper training of hiring managers, and possibly retetion of even their online records. All these mistakes can lead to creating a place of business that illegal workers can infilitrate, despite the diligence of the employer.

Good intentions do not make for a company in compliance.