[Editor’s Note: today’s post is brought to you by guest blogger Bruce Buchanan, an immigration attorney in the Nashville, TN office of Siskind Susser PC.]
Atrium Companies, the owner of Champion Windows and Advanced Containment Systems, agreed to settle a case with Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) for $2 million as a result of a pattern and practice of hiring illegal aliens.
An I-9 audit, conducted by ICE – Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in February 2011, revealed 269 of Champion’s 451-person workforce consisted of undocumented aliens. Many employees’ I-9 documentation had numerous “egregiously suspect” errors, such as misspellings of agency names and/or containing the words “novelty item.” In November 2009, Thereafter, at the request of the government, all of the undocumented aliens were terminated from Champion by the end of April 2011.
The ICE HSI investigation also revealed that, since acquiring Champion, management at Atrium had become aware of the possibility of large numbers of undocumented aliens being employed at Champion’s Houston factory. A follow-up audit conducted by ICE HSI of Atrium Companies’ remaining 12 subsidiaries in May 2011 revealed that about 8.3 percent of the parent company’s 3,382 employees (excluding Champion employees) were undocumented aliens. All of these workers were terminated within a matter of weeks.
Atrium received multiple notices from the Social Security Administration (SSA) known as “no-match letters,” which indicated employee names and Social Security numbers did not match SSA records. The companies failed to take any corrective measures, resulting in the continued employment of the undocumented aliens.
The ICE announcement reported that since December 2010, Atrium Companies has revised its immigration compliance procedures to include new policies concerning the proper completion, retention and auditing of I-9 forms and for responding to SSA no match letters. Under the terms of the agreement, Atrium Companies must also hire a full-time chief compliance officer and continue to consult with immigration counsel in order to ensure the legality of its workforce.
Disclaimer: The content of this post does not constitute direct legal advice and is designed for informational purposes only. Information provided through this website should never replace the need for involving informed counsel on your employment and immigration issues.