WASHINGTON — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Tuesday it reached a $1.05 million settlement with teen retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co. for violating federal immigration laws by failing to adequately verify that employees in its Michigan stores were eligible to work in the U.S.
According to ICE’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations, the settlement stems from a November 2008 inspection that uncovered numerous deficiencies in the chain’s electronic I-9 verification system, which is supposed to verify that workers are eligible to work in the U.S. ICE said they knew of no illegal aliens who were actually hired by A&F as a result of the technology deficiencies and that Abercrombie had since addressed the problems and implemented new company practices to prevent any future violations.
“Employers are responsible not only for the people they hire, but also for the internal systems they choose to utilize to manage their employment process and those systems must result in effective compliance,” said Brian Moskowitz, the ICE special agent in charge of Michigan and Ohio.
Moskowitz said other companies should see the settlement as a warning to take the employment verification process seriously. Employers in the U.S. are required to submit an I-9 form for every worker hired to verify their identity and their eligibility to work. A&F declined to comment.