Is Your Organization Ready for an OSC Investigation?

The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is part of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The OSC regularly investigate complaints, fielded by other agencies like the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS), or by complaining parties, like employees, former employees or job applicants about potential immigration-related violations. Unlike ICE, which audits I-9 records, the OSC is charged with investigating complaints about the way an employer has managed its I-9 or E-Verify process. Sometimes, the complaints are found to be without merit. In those cases though, employers typically still undergo training and some form of remedial measures, including OSC webinar trainings and/or E-Verify tutorial trainings. In the case of valid complaints, employers are subject to even more remedial measures. Where the complaints arose from employees (or former employees) who were harmed, it’s common for employers to pay back wages to those employees, and reinstate those workers if the workers agree to be reinstated. The OSC provides a plethora of educational webinars that are free, to employers. The OSC can impose monetary penalties against employers who violate the law. Your organization should partner with an experienced immigration or employment attorney familiar with the laws that govern the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1324b. These allies will provide you with a realistic assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case, so that you can make an informed decision on when, or if, you should settle the case.

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