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OCAHO Cuts I-9 Penalty in Half: USA v. Romans Racing Stables, Inc.

October 24, 2014 (1 min read)

"ICE’s motion seeks summary decision as to liability and the imposition of penalties totaling $150,535.  The government acknowledges that RRS is a small business with no history of previous violations, and does not contend that the company acted in bad faith, but does argue that the penalties are warranted because the violations are serious and because unauthorized aliens were present in the workforce. ...  ICE’s proposed penalties of $935 per violation constitutes eighty-five percent of the maximum permissible, and penalties so close to the maximum are ordinarily reserved for the most egregious violations.  See United States v. Fowler Equip. Co., 10 OCAHO no. 1169, 6 (2013).  Such severe penalties appear unduly harsh, especially for the everyday garden-variety violations in Count II.  (A chart of these violations is shown in the government’s exhibit G-8).  Given the transient nature of the industry, and in light of the general policy of leniency toward small entities as set out in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. § 601 et seq. (2006), as amended by § 223(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Act of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-121, 110 Stat. 864 (1996), the penalties for this small business will be adjusted as a matter of discretion to an amount closer to the mid-range and will be assessed at a rate of $500 for each of the 117 violations in count I, and $400 for each of the forty-four violations in count II, for a total penalty of $76,100." - USA v. Romans Racing Stables, Inc., Sept. 24, 2014.