What if My Employee Doesn’t Have Work Authorization?
If someone cannot provide paperwork, and you've given them an opportunity to do so, you need to speak to an attorney about the possible consequences and results should you want to keep them employed anyway. We here at Guest and Gray have attorneys who have worked with many different companies, on how to make sure that they are protected from liability when deciding what to do about employees, who cannot provide legal work authorization. documentation, or whose paperwork has expired. Generally speaking, you are free to place on unpaid leave any employee or new hire who cannot provide proof of their employment authorization. It is of course, possible that some of your new hires or employees, who don't have work authorization, would be eligible to obtain it. Our immigration attorneys get lots of inquiries from employers, who are interested in helping their employees obtain legal authorization to work and it's something that, we here at Guest & Gray like to help.Are My Employees Eligible for a Work Visa?
The decision of how to approach the situation is entirely up to you as an employer. You are well within your rights to terminate, place on unpaid leave, or refuse to proceed forward with any new hire or employee who can provide you with legal documentation as required by federal law. Of course, you may also choose to assist them in getting their legal authorization.
Sometimes your employees are eligible for visas or work authorization and sometimes they are not. Eligibility for a work visa is something a lawyer would have to help you determine on a case-by-case basis. Here at Guest & Gray we have experienced immigration and business attorneys who can help you determine if your staff are eligible for any relief.
It is important, however, that you do make a decision if you want to insulate your company from any potential harm, as a result of continuing to employ individuals without legal work authorization. There's been a 40% rise in the federal government performing I-9 audits and here in Texas especially, we've had multiple ICE, Department of Labor, and other Homeland Security Immigration audits and enforcement actions take place at local businesses. It’s important for you to take the necessary steps to ensure if that happened, your business would not be at risk.What do I do, if My Employee is Unauthorized to Work?
Anytime you have an employee, who is unauthorized to work you could be fined, should the government perform any of these enforcement actions on your premises. There are many things that go into determining how much you get fined or if you get fined at all. Our attorneys in the immigration and business law sections here at Guest & Gray can help you understand what potential liability you might face in each and every different type of circumstance.
How much you are fined, for example, will depend on whether or not you had noticed your employer did not have legal work authorization. If you got a “No Match Letter,” for example, which is a notification from the Social Security Administration, that an individual on your payroll has a social security number that does not match the individual who the Social Security Administration has assigned to that number, you would be on notice that your individual employee did not have work authorization. That means when or if the federal government commences a raid or enforcement action, you could be subject to higher fines and possibly even criminal penalties. Please contact us today at Guest & Gray, if you have received a “No-Match” letter, so that we can help put your mind at ease, and keep your business safe.