Food & Beverage Association Members and Associates,
Within recent months the F&BA has hosted two workshops with ICE outlining acceptable documents, processes and likely ineligible employees.
Many of you attended and returned to your businesses equipped with knowledge to do a better job!
The article below highlights how important it is when hiring employees and in maintaining accurate documentation to be very serious about doing it correctly.
The F&BA is your “Go-To Source” to these and other questions
Stephen A Zolezzi
Food & Beverage Association San Diego County
"Hospitality's Go-To Source"
Chipotle: Immigration crack down has been 'eye opening'
Immigration attorneys say probe is a message to the restaurant industry
February 8, 2011
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. continues to be the target of an ongoing investigation into the hiring of undocumented workers in numerous states, an experience a company spokesman calls “eye opening.”
The sweep by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, started with restaurants in Minnesota, and now has been expanded to include units in the Virginia and Washington, D.C. area.
In recent weeks, Chipotle has been forced to let go what has been reported as hundreds of workers from units in Minnesota, where ICE officials have found certain documents that verify eligibility for employment to be suspect. The company operates about 1,100 units nationwide, with about 50 stores in Minnesota.
Chris Arnold, a spokesman for Denver-based Chipotle, said he did not know why Chipotle units in Minnesota were targeted initially.
“We have taken this very seriously and over the past five years, we have been working to improve our policies and procedures” for verifying documents, he said. “This has been eye opening for us and we are looking at ways to improve the process.”
Even before the probe, Chipotle has a policy of verifying documents twice: once by the hiring manager and once by the company’s human resources department.
Chipotle is looking into using the government E-Verify system, which is required in some states, Arnold said. Through that program, employers can tap into federal databases to verify employee documents.
Immigration attorneys say the crackdown at Chipotle is meant to send a message to the entire restaurant industry, noting that feet will be held to the fire if illegal workers are hired.
“This case could become a game changer for the restaurant industry,” said Michael Wildes, managing partner of Wildes & Weinberg P.C. in New York, who specializes in immigration issues. “It’s a message to restaurants big and small that they need to take a hard look” at their hiring practices.
Chipotle is the latest in an ongoing series of restaurant companies that have come under fire for hiring undocumented workers. Over the past four years, for example, raids have reportedly resulted in the arrest and deportation of undocumented workers at Krispy Kreme, Sizzler and McDonald’s franchise locations.
Wildes said employers typically must pay hefty fines that range from $110 for paperwork violations to $16,000 for each undocumented worker found to be employed.
Last year, ICE’s emphasis shifted to target employers, with the goal of reducing demand for illegal employment, Wildes said.
As a result, an estimated 3,200 businesses across all industries have reportedly received notices of inspection since the beginning of 2010.