(WGGB) – Federal officials have fined seventeen companies, including one from Westfield, after an audit was conducted into employment documentation.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations unit says that an investigation and audit was conducted at 35 employers across the state related to Form I-9 documentation.
Employers are required to complete and retain I-9 forms from every person they hire, and in a statement, ICE notes that this form requires employers to “review and record the individual’s identity and employment eligibility document(s) and determine whether the document(s) reasonably appears to be genuine and related to the individual.”
As a result of the audit and investigation, almost $350,000 in fines have been levied against seventeen firms across Massachusetts.
Panda House, a restaurant on East Main Street in Westfield, was one of those companies fined with an amount of $4,675.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge of Boston Bruce Foucart says, “These settlements serve as a reminder to employers that HSI will continue to hold them accountable for hiring and maintaining a legal and compliant workforce.”
“We encourage employers to take the employment verification process seriously, as we expand the number of audits we are conducting throughout Massachusetts each year. My agency will continue to focus its attention on employers that are knowingly employing illegal workers and will continue to target specific industries and businesses known or alleged to hire illegals,” Foucart adds.