OCAHO Slashes I-9 Fine from $14,960 to $6,400: Mr. Mike's Pizza

OCAHO Slashes I-9 Fine from $14,960 to $6,400: Mr. Mike's Pizza

"The penalty proposed nevertheless appears excessive in light of the record as a whole. Mr. Mike’s is a very small business, and the parties do not dispute that the restaurant is struggling. There is no suggestion that the company acted in bad faith to avoid the requirements of the law, and it also appears undisputed that Mr. Mike's was simply unaware of the I-9 requirement until it received the NOI. Apart from the seriousness of the violations, most of the statutory factors thus weigh in Mr. Mike’s favor. Penalties so close to the maximum permissible should be reserved for more egregious violations than are demonstrated here. See United States v. Fowler Equip. Co., 10 OCAHO no. 1169, 6 (2013). A penalty needs to be sufficiently meaningful to accomplish the purpose of deterring future violations, United States v. Jonel, Inc., 8 OCAHO no. 1008, 175, 201 (1998), but should not be “unduly punitive” in light of the respondent’s resources, United States v. Minaco Fashions, Inc., 3 OCAHO no. 587, 1900, 1909 (1993).

In view, moreover, of the general public policy of leniency toward small entities, as set out in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq. (2006), amended by § 223(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), Pub. L. No. 104-121, 110 Stat. 864 (1996), the penalty for this small pizza restaurant will be adjusted to an amount closer to the midrange of permissible penalties, or $400 for each violation. The total penalty thus is $6400." - USA v. Mr. Mike's Pizza, Inc., Aug. 9, 2013.