Abercrombie, Fitch and Ouch

The-below story was obtained from SHRM’s web site, and was written by their manager of workplace law content.  “The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations announced Sept. 28, 2010, that a settlement for more than $1.04 million had been reached with Abercrombie & Fitch for violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

The settlement resulted from a November 2008 Form I-9 inspection of Abercrombie & Fitch’s retail stores in Michigan.  The audit uncovered numerous technology-related deficiencies in the company’s electronic I-9 verification system.  No instance of the knowing hire of an unauthorized alien was discovered.

The settlement is the highest ever for a technical violation, according to Robert Loughran, an attorney with FosterQuan LLP in Austin, Texas.  He said Abercrombie & Fitch used home-grown software that left out a key component – having individuals attest to their immigration status.

The settlement should prompt employers to make sure they do due diligence when selecting I-9 software, he added.  He described the settlement amount as shockingly large for a company that appeared to do everything right except for a mistake in the software that it used.”  The moral of the story – always have home-grown programs legally vetted before they are implemented.

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