A Middlefield company was one of a dozen fined this year by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) as part of its effort launched in 2009 to reduce the demand for illegal employment and protect employment opportunities for the nation's lawful workforce.
The 12 Connecticut employers were fined a total of $132,584.25 in fiscal year (FY) 2012 for various employment violations. This strategy focuses agency resources on the investigation and audit of employers suspected of cultivating illegal workplaces by hiring workers who are not authorized to work.
Employers are required to complete and retain a Form I-9 for each individual they hire. 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. Additionally, an employer must ensure that the employee provides certain information regarding his or her eligibility to work, on the Form I-9.
Fines in Connecticut in FY 2012 include:
- Acranom Masonry Inc. of Middlefield was fined $4,500;
- Calabro Cheese Corp. of East Haven was fined $45,000;
- Contour Landscaping Company Inc. of Stamford was fined $8,104;
- Gourmet Heaven Inc. of New Haven was fined $5,891;
- John J. Masi Company Inc. of Bridgeport was fined $3,276;
- Kingswood Kitchens Company Inc. of Danbury was fined $12,000;
- Leed-Himmel Industries Inc. of Hamden was fined $2,241.25;
- Melissa & Doug LLC of Wilton was fined $1,386;
- Prostar Inc. of Farmington was fined $10,472;
- Quality Sales LLC of Hartford was fined $2,722;
- Superior Plastics Extrusion Company Inc., aka Impact Plastics, of Putnam was fined $34,000; and
- Villa Brava Grocery LLC of Hartford was fined $2,992.
"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," said Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of HSI Boston. Foucart oversees HSI throughout New England. "We encourage employers to take the employment verification process seriously, as we expand the number of audits we are conducting throughout Connecticut 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."
During FY 2012, HSI conducted 18 inspections of employers' I-9 documents in Connecticut, an increase over the 14 inspections conducted in FY 2011, seven in FY 2010 and one in FY 2009. In FY 2011, HSI issued only one fine to a Connecticut company. PCC Technology Group of Bloomfield was fined $15,000.