OCAHO Reduces I-9 Fine from $80,000 To $30,000

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In U.S. v A&J Kyoto Japanese Restaurants, Inc., the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) lowered penalties as they should be “sufficiently meaningful to accomplish the purpose of deterring future violations, without being ‘unduly punitive’ in light of the respondent’s resources.”  A&J Kyoto Japanese restaurant is a small restaurant which did not employ any unauthorized aliens and had no history of previous violations.  The OCAHO found that while the violations were serious, all the other statutory factors weighed in the company’s favor, and a penalty constituting 135% of the company’s ordinary business income for 2010 and more than 60% for 2011 was excessive on its face in light of the record as a whole.  The OCAHO considers that a penalty should be sufficiently meaningful to accomplish the purpose of deterring future violations, without being “unduly punitive” in light of the respondent's resources.  Here the proposed penalty was close to the maximum permissible by law, and way out of proportion to the nature of the business and the degree of culpability shown.


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