By: Bruce Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law

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The U.S. Department of Justice published a rule on June 30 that will increase penalties for unlawfully employing immigrants, and unfair employment practices tied to immigration, and “so-called paperwork violations” for I-9 forms, effective August 1, 2016.

The DOJ regulation will “increase “paperwork violations” related to I-9 forms from a maximum of $1,100 to $2,156. The minimum penalty per violation increases from $110 to $216.
Under the rule, the minimum penalty for the unlawful employment of immigrants will jump from $375 to $539, while the maximum will go from $3,200 to $4,313. And that’s just for a first order. Employees who receive three or more orders will be facing a new maximum penalty of $21,563 for unlawfully employing immigrants.

And as for unfair immigration-related employment practices, a first order could cost a new top penalty of $3,563 per person discriminated against, up from $3,200. The minimum penalty increases from $375 to $445.

The new regulation applies to violations that took place after November 2, 2015. I would anticipate the substantial increase in the fines will lead to significantly more OCAHO litigation since historically OCAHO reduces the penalties by between 30 and 45%.