Of course, you want Payroll to be thorough and meticulous. But in this case, the department asked too much of foreign workers — and that came back to haunt the company.
Because Farmland Foods, Inc., wanted to ensure no illegal aliens wound up on its payroll, it required all new non-U.S. citizens and some foreign-born U.S. citizens to show its Payroll department specific (even at times extra) work-authorization documents that were more than federal law actually required.
And under the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, businesses can’t demand that employees present specific or excessive documents to establish work eligibility.
So when the Department of Justice found out about Farmland’s work-eligibility process, the company ended up owing $290,400 in civil penalties.
Lesson: Let workers choose. Federal laws says employees must be allowed to pick which document/documents to show from the list acceptable documents on the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.