Employers of minimum wage employees are reporting difficulty attracting and retaining many such workers. As enhanced by federal supplements, unemployment insurance as a sole means of support has apparently become an attractive alternative to gainful employment for a significant number in this segment of the workforce. Some employers have been so frustrated by the resulting ebb in the labor pool that they have begun to “balance the risks” involved in turning a blind eye to possible/likely I-9 violations, and turn to hiring illegal workers as a means of maintaining their minimum wage work forces.
We would remind employers who are thinking along these lines to think again. Not only are ICE and U.S. attorneys enforcing immigration compliance requirements against employers, they are obtaining jail sentences for responsible managers and owners. Owners who are pressed by the lack of workers should not pressure their managers/HR staff to any kind of negligence in the hiring process as they can be placing those employees at risk of personal prosecution. While not a terribly attractive alternative, temporary agencies may provide temporary relief from what is hoped to be a problem of only temporary further duration.
Compliance questions should always be discussed with counsel.
Karl A Schmidt
Parker, Milliken, Clark, O’Hara & Samuelian, a Prof. Corp.