How to Win the War When Working With Wal-Mart: One law firm’s story of complying with the “roll-back” king’s employer compliance program.

Americans across the country are familiar with Wal-Mart for their “roll-back” prices and friendly service. What most people don’t know is that, after their immigration scandals in 2001 and 2003, Wal-Mart has lead the country in enforcing employer compliance with requirements of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (“IRCA”). Since paying a record-setting $11 million to the United States Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Division (“ICE”), Wal-Mart has become the reluctant leader in employer compliance programs. As anyone trying to sign a contract with Wal-Mart will tell you, it’s no walk in the park to meet their strict demands, but it is the way of the future for employment verification procedures.

By way of history, in 2001, 100 illegal immigrant janitors were arrested at Wal-Mart stores in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri and New York, and an additional 245 were arrested in October 2003 at 60 stores across 21 states. The allegation that Wal-Mart knew the janitors were illegal was denied by Wal-Mart’s top executives; nevertheless they admitted that they should have been keeping a more watchful eye over what their sub-contractors were doing. In a statement from Washington, federal officials announced that 12 janitorial contractors that worked for Wal-Mart had agreed to forfeit $4 million to the government and to plead guilty to criminal charges of employing illegal immigrants. The workers came from nearly 20 countries, including Mexico, Brazil, the Czech Republic, China, Poland and Russia.

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