Hiring Illegal Workers Leads to Large Fines, Verify Eligibility

 

Case:  Employer May Lose 30% of Employees
 
Following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a clothing maker announced plans to lay off around one-fourth of its factory workers in Los Angeles. The employer, who had mostly Hispanic immigrants, was notified by ICE that 1,600 of its reported 5,600 factory workers could be illegal immigrants. Officials said the company could face thousands of dollars in fines if it determined that illegal workers were knowingly brought on by the company. The fines could top more than $800 per person, according to government regulations.
 
 
Employers Can Quickly Verify Employees’ Work Eligibility
 
The employer could have avoided this situation if it had verified its employees’ eligibility to legally work in the United States. All employers must have all new employees complete a Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. The employer must complete the I-9 within three days of the employee beginning work for pay. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides these and other forms with instructions on its website, http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis
 
 
E-Verify
 
U.S. law requires companies to employ only individuals who may legally work in the United States – either U.S. citizens or foreign citizens who have the necessary work authorization. People who have been admitted as permanent residents, granted asylum or refugee status, or have been admitted in work-related nonimmigrant classifications, may have employment authorization as a direct result of their immigration status. Others may need to apply individually for employment authorization.
 
E-Verify is an internet-based system that allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. E-Verify is fast, free and easy to use – and it’s the best way employers can ensure a legal workforce. E-verify is found at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis
 
E-Verify compares the information an employee provides on the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, against millions of government records and generally provides results in three to five seconds. If the information matches, that employee is eligible to work in the United States. If there's a mismatch, E-Verify will alert the employer. The website also has information about how employers can petition for work authorization for a potential employee. While participation in E-Verify is voluntary for most employers (though mandatory for most government contractors and subcontractors), completion of Form I-9 is required of all employers.
 
Employers can sign up for free webinars on how to use E-verify at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=413628ac1dc0c210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=413628ac1dc0c210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD#For Employers
 
 
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com
 
©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.


Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional about workers comp issues.

Six Types of Employee Screening to Lower Workers Comp Costs

 
There are many adages out there about circumstances just not adding up. Two of my favorites are “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” and “Things aren’t always what they seem.”
 
This can be especially important when it comes to new hires for your company. The greatest, most amicable person can walk through your doors and they could be the perfect worker in your mind. They could be experienced, charismatic, professional, and give you the best interview you have ever conducted.(WCxKit)
 
However, there can be issues lurking underneath that can expose your company to workers compensation costs.
 
What your new hire may not have told you:
 
1.      They have had four knee surgeries.
2.      They have been out of work watching TV for six months — or six years for that matter.
3.      They are just lackluster work performers bouncing from one job to the next.
4.      They lack the personality to deal with customers.
 
 
6 Ways Pre-employment Physicals and Background Checks Protect your Company:
1.    Have all applicants complete a pre-employment physical before they can be accepted as new hire.
This should be standard for any position. Whether it is a sedentary desk job, or a job out on the production floor, having a physician do a physical exam on your candidate can save you a lot of aggravation down the road. This potential new hire may carry a lot of baggage medically that could become your responsibility after their first day of work. Physicians can spot surgical scars or other objective findings on exam that this person may not have indicated to you during their interview. Often it is thought that only workers performing heavy tasks should be considered for physicals. However, sedentary jobs can lead to back pain, neck pain, and repetitive injuries that may have been prevented if a physician noticed it during a physical exam before they were accepted as a new hire within your workforce.
 
With the current economy, a significant number of people have been out of work for a very long time. This leads to general de-conditioning, and since they are a new hire they want to work as hard as possible to gain your trust and acceptance. Oftentimes these people out of work that start work again are the first to be injured, since they are physically unable to perform the job at the pace required without injuring themselves. Monitor your loss runs, and if new hires are accountable for the majority of your injuries, then you have identified a problem that needs immediate correcting. It can be corrected by modifying your new hire screening by implementing a physical exam before they are hired and start work.
 
 
2.    Have a detailed job description for your physician to review while performing the physical.
Just saying a worker will spend 90 percent of their time at a desk and 10 percent of their time walking to the printer and back is not a fantastic job description. Consider what goes in to a particular job day after day:
 
1.      Talking on the phone.
2.      Staring at a computer screen.
3.      Reaching for things in a file cabinet.
4.      Bending and squatting.
5.      Reaching overhead.
6.      Frequently lifting 40 pounds or more.
 
Whatever it may be the more detailed you are in your job description the better the doctor can assess your candidate and decide if they can physically do this job on a long-term basis in a safe manner. In the end, nobody knows the jobs within a workplace better than the employer. Additionally, the more detailed and elaborate you are in your job description, the safer your workforce will be because you will be hiring qualified, fit workers that can safely perform their job day after day.
 
 
3.    Make passing a drug screen mandatory for all new hires.
This should go without saying. With prescription drug use on the rise, even though your potential hire looks on the outside to be healthy and responsible, there could be a lot internally that is physically wrong with them. For example, in one claim a worker sustained a back strain. During the interview, he said he did not go to the doctor right away because he had just taken muscle relaxers. Now, how did he get those? Were they his prescription? Does he take them every day? Does he have a prior comp claim that is active with another employer? Does his doctor refill the prescription without actually doing an exam? If this new hire already has some type of injury before even starting at your jobsite, how can you safely protect yourself and your fellow employees from being injured by someone under the influence of narcotics legally or illegally?
 
 
4.    Ask for professional references and call them.
Most job applicants bring a reference sheet with them to the interview. Often these are professional references, but at times, a neighbor or relative could be used. Not that a relative could not be used as a potential reference, but they are not always unbiased? Calling all references should be standard practice in all HR departments. Again, not only to protect the company from making a bad hire, but, since this person will be working in and around all your other employees, you should not put them at risk by hiring an employee who past employers labeled as lazy, unsafe, or unreliable.
 
Make sure the references consist of previous employers – where the employees no longer work. Calling a current employer can be deceptive since they may give a good reference to get rid of a bad employee.
 
 
5.    Have a private investigation firm run a background check on your applicant
Most PI firms have access to an insurance claims database, civil court records, police records, etc. This is especially important if you have workers driving your vehicles. Past traffic violations, DUIs, and other vehicle violations can be very detrimental to your company. By hiring such a person and putting them on the road in your company vehicle, that person is representing you and your company. The risk involved in vehicular accident claims is huge. You should only have workers with the greatest of safety records on the road representing your company. Equal attention should be given to potential new hires with extensive workers compensation histories, including litigation. This shows that they know the comp system, and are not afraid to retain counsel and litigate a claim if need be. Litigation increases your claims expense, and often a settlement will include their resignation from your company anyway, so before they start work for you, make sure they are not a “career claimant” bouncing from job to job looking for a settlement. 

Beware: This is not foolproof: In one situation, a women in Charles Manson’s group did not show up on a criminal background check because the arrest was more than 25 years ago. She had turned state’s evidence and thus had not ever been “convicted” of the crime. The job she was applying for: childcare provider. Yes, this is true. Fortunately, someone in her neighborhood let the company know about her past track record. Hardly the type of person suitable for childcare.
 
 
6. Personality Profiling
Consider personality screening. Not every employee is suitable for every job. Customer service jobs require a pleasant, patient personality, and not everyone fits that mold. Personality profiling evaluates whether the moral compass is pointing the right direction. They check for traits such as entitlement mentality, theft, deception, cheating, dishonestly, drugs, hostility, and propensity to violence. In some situations the lost time rate dropped dramatically when using this type of testing. (WCxKit)
 
 
In conclusion, hiring new employees involves bringing a certain risk to your company. By being attentive and properly screening your new hires before they start work at your company, saves time and headache down the road by keeping the bad employees out, and only having a reliable, safe, productive workforce that is capable of doing their day-to-day jobs in the safest manner possible.
 
 
CHECK WITH LEGAL COUNSEL BEFORE IMPLEMENTING ANY TYPE OF EMPLOYEE SCREENING. STATE LAWS MAY LIMIT OR PROHIBIT THE TYPE OF TESTING THAT CAN BE DONE IN YOUR JURISDICTION.
 

Author Rebecca Shafer
, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact:RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
 
Our WC Book: http://corner.advisen.com/partners_wctoolkit_book.html

 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

Six Types of Employees to Avoid

Some employees turn out to be the proverbial "employee from hell." One of the biggest mistakes an employer can make is to hire the wrong person. A poor hire can have a dramatic impact on the cost of business operations, both from a workers compensation standpoint and from an overall management standpoint. The wrong employee in the wrong position is an accident (or alleged accident) waiting to happen.
 
With the downturn in the economy over the last two years, many employers have had to downsize their operations. Most of those employers have taken the reduction in staff as a handy way of ridding themselves of the problem employees. Granted, some of employees who have been laid off work are great employees. However, if an employer has the choice of which to let go between the excellent employee and the problem employee, it will be the not-so-good employee that is laid off. (WCxKit)
 
While it is not always easy to recognize the potential problem employee during the hiring process, there are some definite clues an employer can look for to identify employees that pose headaches for your company in the future. Pre-employment personality testing and psychological testing can be used to identify several types of employees from Hell, including:

1.      Mr. Always Unhappy – This potential employee will always find something to complain about. If he is talking, he is gripping, but he is not a constructive critic. He will find fault with every initiative of the employer. Mr. Unhappy will destroy morale of everyone in his department by keeping everyone in a continuous agitated state.
 

2.      Ms. Happy Independent – This potential employee has no financial obligations. She still lives with her parents or someone else who supports her. Ms. Independent does not need her job so she never strives to do her best work.
 

3.      Mr. Duck Out of Water – This potential employee is often drowning in financial obligations and has a family to support. Mr. Duck OutofWater desperately needs a job, so he is willing to take any job offered to him. His prior position was one of authority, respect and much higher pay. If he is hired, he will be grateful for the job until he realizes that he no longer has the authority and command he had in his prior job. Mr. OutofWater if he stays around long enough will morph into Mr. Unhappy.
 

4.      Mr. Low Production – When this employees prior employer had the opportunity to rid themselves of him, they did so. Whether it is a lack of motivation or a limited intellectual capacity, Mr. Low Production will never produce either the expected quantity or expected quality that should come from the job you have available.
 

5.      Ms. Anti Establishment – This employee opposes everything management wants done. She knows for a fact that all businesses are corrupt and will exploit her. Ms. Anti Establishment will know more about how the company should be run within a week of being hired than her manager will ever know.
 

6.      Ms. Something For Nothing – From a workers compensation standpoint, this is the most dangerous employee. She has collected on one or more work comp claims at every one of her former employers. She will fake an injury shortly after being hired and will use every possible tactic she can to not have to return to work any time soon. 

 

Small employers normally do not have the staff to undertake pre-employment screening and do not have the expertise to administer personality testing and psychological testing. There are pre-employment screening vendors that are available to any employer. The pre-employment screening can be done at the facility of the vendor, at your business or on the internet websites of the pre-employment screening vendors. While you have to pay for the testing of some people you will decide not to hire, the cost of testing is minor compared to the cost of hiring the employee from Hell.
 
There are three primary types of psychological testing. They are:
1.     Personality testing that provides insights into the values, ethics and behavioral characteristics of the potential employee.
2.     Aptitude testing that evaluates a job candidate's reasoning skills. The test measure verbal, numerical and abstract thinking.
3.     Motivational testing that identifies the areas of interest and importance to the job candidate and identifies what motivates the person.

 

Personality testing and behavioral testing adds an element of objectivity to the pre-employment screening process. The pre-employment assessment testing will provide the employer with information on the aptitudes and behavioral traits of the potential employee. The pre-employment assessment can provide the employer with information on the ethics, values, honesty and integrity of the employee candidate. Often the behaviors identified in the personality testing can be confirmed through reference checks and background screening. (WCxKit)
 
 If you hire any of the employees from Hell, not only do you create personnel problems for your company, you increase the probability of workers' compensation claims. There is a definite correlation between having problem employees and higher incidents of work comp claims. Almost all questionable work comp claims arise from employees who have performance issues. By identifying the potential problem employee and not hiring them, the employer can save the hassles and headaches they create, and work comp cost, too.
 
Note: obviously these thoughts are tongue in cheek, sort of, so take them with a grain of salt.

Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing.  Contact:  RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.

WORK COMP CALCULATOR:   http://www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact
Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Common Sense Considerations for Hiring Safer and More Productive Employees

One of the easiest ways for an employer to control the cost of workers compensation is to hire employees who are unlikely to have a job related injury. To identify and hire employees who take safety seriously takes some efforts but makes great economic sense. To find the best people to hire is easier if you have a hiring plan that includes identifying the requirements of the position you are trying to fill and the capabilities (both physical and mental) of the person you are considering for the position. By creating a standardized hiring plan and using it, you identify the best job applicant for your company. Risk Management starts with hiring the right employee.
 
1- Job Analysis
The hiring of the best applicant for the job is a lot more than reading a resume and having an interview. With all the self-help books and internet websites on how to write a great resume and shine in the interview, a job applicant may make a good impression but be a poor choice for your company. A job analysis will assist you in determining if the job applicant is a good fit for your company. (WCxKit)
 
 A job analysis breaks the specific position being filled down into its component parts. Each part of the job is separated into its essential features including skills, abilities, knowledge and attitudes needed to perform the job. By identifying the task and responsibilities of the position, the employer will be able to compare job applicants against the criteria of the job. Each job applicant can be tested (see Testing below) to measure their capabilities in each of the essential features of the job.
 
A job analysis for a manual labor position could include the applicant's ability to lift weights, carry weights and the strength to push or pull a weight. The frequency of performing these tasks – never, occasionally, frequently or constantly – is determined when the employer creates the job analysis. The applicant's ability to do each can be measured and tested prior to making a job offer. 
 
In addition to strength testing for the manual labor position, the applicant's ability to bend, turn, twist, squat, crawl, climb, reach out, reach up, grasp and pinch can be tested. Again, the frequency of these activities should be established when the employer creates the job analysis. By establishing the applicant's ability to perform the physical demands of the job before hiring the job applicant, the probability of an on-the-job injury is greatly reduced.
 
The job analysis for a clerical position could include the applicant's ability to use a keyboard, operate word processing programs and perform other computer skills. The frequency of these activities and the speed in which they need to be accomplished should be established by the employer prior to the start of the hiring process.
 
2- Job Descriptions & Specifications
Each job position should have a written job description that specifies what the employee will be doing on an everyday basis. It should identify the task to be completed, the equipment or machinery that will be used, whether he/she will be working as a part of a group or have individual responsibilities and whether or not the employee will be supervising either processes or people.
 
The skills, abilities and knowledge needed for the job should be established. This includes any requirements for prior experience or specific education. For instance, the job description can include the requirement to operate a forklift safely, or the requirement to close a difficult sale successfully, or the requirement to have a law degree.
 
3- Testing
To compare the job applicants capabilities against the job description and specifications of the job, screening and testing is needed. The employer who has the expertise in testing job applicants can perform the necessary testing, but most employers elect to hire a vendor who specializes in performing pre-hire testing. The testing can include:
1.      attitude and integrity assessment profiles
 
2.      functional capabilities testing
 
3.      pre-offer agility and strength testing
 
4.      post offer comprehensive medical screen to identify pre-existing medical limitations and cumulative trauma
 
4- Screening and Background Checks
All pre-employment screening and background checks must comply with federal law and the state law where the employee is being hired. Pre-employment drug testing (as well as post-employment drug testing) should be a condition of any job offer. Thirty-eight to fifty percent of all workers' compensation claims are related to substance abuse according to the Tennessee Department of Labor. The employers who actively manage their drug-free workplace program benefit from higher productivity, fewer work related accidents, lower absenteeism and lower medical cost (both from medical insurance claims and workers compensation claims). At least a dozen states require the workers compensation insurers to offer your company a premium discount if your company has a drug-free workplace program.
 
The job applicant should agree to a background check which includes checking the applicant's background for hidden criminal records, drug arrest, prior employment history, prior academic achievements and credit history {a good reason to use an outside vendor is to let the vendor comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.} The pre-hire job screening and testing vendor should be a Designated Agent approved by the Department of Homeland Security so they can do the E-Verify Legal Right to Work check. 
 
5- Psychological Testing
Psychological testing can be used to screen potential employees. There are three primary types of psychological testing. They are:
5.      Personality testing that provides insights into the values, ethics and behavioral characteristics of the potential employee.
 
6.      Aptitude testing that evaluates job candidates reasoning skills. The test measure verbal, numerical and abstract thinking.
 
7.      Motivational testing that identifies the areas of interest and importance to the job candidate and identifies what motivates the person.
 
Personality testing and behavioral testing adds an element of objectivity to the pre-employment screening process. The pre-employment assessment testing will provide the employer with information on the aptitudes and behavioral traits of the potential employee. The pre-employment assessment can provide the employer with information on the ethics, values, honesty and integrity of the job applicant. Often the behaviors identified in the personality testing can be confirmed through reference checks and background screening. 
 
6- Without Discrimination
Nothing will mess up your hiring plans more than a lawsuit brought by a job applicant who believes there was discrimination in the hiring process. Be fully up to speed on the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Any job applicant can file a lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 
 
All hiring decisions should be based on the job applicant's ability to do the job as measured in the testing you have done. If you let a job applicant's disability, ethnic background, gender or age influence your hiring decision, and the job applicant proves it, the legal remedies include the lost wages, compensatory damages, legal fees, and in severe cases of discrimination, punitive damages. (WCxKit)
 
Safe Hiring
By establishing the criteria of the job through the job analysis, including the physical requirements and the job specifications, the employer can eliminate most of the job applicants who do not have the physical capabilities to perform the job safely. This prevents many work comp claims from ever occurring. The pre-offer and post-offer job testing can identify job applicants who have medical limitations, while the workers compensation background check can verify the veracity of the job application in regards to prior workers compensation claims.
 

Author Rebecca Shafer, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is an attorney  and national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing.  Contact:  RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

WORK COMP CALCULATOR:   http://www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
 
WC GROUP:  http://www.linkedin.com/groups?homeNewMember=&gid=1922050/
SUBSCRIBE: 
Workers Comp Resource Center Newsletter

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

©2010 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact
Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

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