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Court Upholds $305,000 Fine Against Arizona Employer for I-9 Violations

Another recent example of why US employers must be serious about verifying the employment authorization of their employees as mandated by INA §274A.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld a fine of $305,050 against a Phoenix-based sheet-metal manufacturer for 503 I-9 violations (DLS Precision Fab v. ICE, Case No. 14-71980 (CA 9, Aug. 7, 2017)).

The decision is also noteworthy because of the employer’s attempt to invoke as a “good faith defense” that it had hired an HR director who had neglected his duties.

This, however, is not an excuse for an employer. Basic agency principles teach us, that as long as employees, such as the HR director in this case, are acting within the scope of their employment,  courts will find that the employee’s failure to perform their responsibilities can be properly imputed to the employer.

Ultimately, the employer in this case found itself seeking protection under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. See In re DLS Precision Fab, LLC, 2:16-bk-06109-EPB (Bankr. D. Ariz. 2016)

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