Governmental investigations and audits to assess compliance with employment and immigration laws have steadily increased over the last few years. Employment lawsuits and immigration compliance violations are at a record high. And there is no indication that the trend will decline anytime soon. Businesses which do not routinely audit their internal policies and procedures or which have neglected to develop and implement policies at all, are vulnerable to fines, claims, penalties, and the potential of governmental oversight.
Some of the common trends which have been targeted include independent contractor vs. employee misclassification, wage and hour enforcement, I-9 completion mistakes, and visa compliance. Making sure your company affirmatively understands and complies with both the regulatory standards and the obligations of employment and immigration compliance will help prevent costly litigation and the threat of governmental penalties or fines in the long run.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-9
Employment discrimination claims, based upon disability, race, national origin, age, gender, or religion, are on the rise as well. Taking inventory of your internal employment policies and procedures will help determine whether or not you may be open to a discrimination claim. Consistency in the application of your internal policies as to all employees and proper documentation of the basis for your employment decisions are important practices to protect your company against allegations of discrimination. Conducting periodic audits of your policies, procedures, and I-9 verification files is another way to ensure your company is current on the ever-changing law and regulatory requirements. Ongoing training of managers and key supervisors is also strongly advised.
Taking all of these actions will provide a strong foundation in support of your claim of good faith compliance with employment regulations should you find yourself subject to a claim, an audit or an investigation.
Katrina D. Moore