Disparate I-9 Documentation Process Can Result in Civil Penalties

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A recent six-figure settlement by an employer with the federal government serves as a reminder of the care employers must take when complying with the federal immigration laws.

Catholic Healthcare West and its subsidiaries Northridge Hospital Medical Center and St. Rose Dominican Hospital (“CHW”) recently paid $257,000 in civil penalties for requiring more documentation during the I-9 verification process of employees it deemed “high risk” for being unauthorized. After a required audit, they may have to pay more, as well.

An employee accused CHW of imposing illegal documentation requirements on non-U.S. citizen employees. As required by law, native born U.S. citizens can choose which allowed documentation they would submit for I-9 purposes. The charge accused CHW of requiring naturalized citizens or non-citizens to provide supplemental documents in addition to those that were allowed and chosen by the employee.

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