Members Get Legal Advice on Immigration and OSHA Compliance
Attorneys from the Polsinelli Law Firm spoke at an event at the HBA in May highlighting the latest trends in immigration and OSHA laws and how to handle a visit from an enforcement agency. Jeffrey Bell, an attorney with more than 20 years of experience in immigration law, spoke about the new I-9 form that every employer must use for any new employees hired after May 7, 2013. Bell stressed the importance of training human resources staff to accurately complete the I-9 form and conducting internal audits to verify that I-9 forms were accurately completed for every employee. Regarding enforcement trends, Bell mentioned that I-9 investigations are up – over 3,000 last fiscal year with $12.5 million in civil penalties for employers. Criminal immigration prosecutions are also up 100 percent over three years ago.
Jeff Bell also described the immigration bill that was introduced by the Gang of 8, a bipartisan group of 8 Senators, that is currently being debated in U.S. Senate. He warned participants that every employer may soon have to use the E-Verify system to verify the work eligibility of its employees.
Jeffrey Rosen, a trial lawyer in the Construction, Energy, and Real Estate Litigation department at Polsinelli spoke about OSHA compliance. Overall, Rosen’s message to members was to not be scared should OSHA visit your worksite. He also stressed the importance of hiring a lawyer, visiting the worksite where the alleged violation took place with the lawyer and sitting down with OSHA to discuss the issues. Most importantly, Rosen stressed the importance of not signing any settlement agreement until you have met with a lawyer or other advisor and OSHA.