Thursday, September 11, 2008

HR goes to jail

It's extremely unusual for human resources employees to face personal liability for violating laws relating to recruitment and selection (constitional claims being one of the rare exceptions). It's even more rare for there to be criminal penalties associated with hiring; no one's going to jail for not showing a .30 criterion-related validity coefficient or for surfing Facebook for people under 40. But when it comes to immigration violations and child labor, the law doesn't mess around.

Case in point: on Tuesday, September 9th, two HR employees at Agriprocessors, a meatpacking facility in Postille, Iowa, were named in court documents and face both misdemeanor and felony charges for violating child labor and immigration laws.

Agriprocessors has been in the news for months ever since a May immigration raid found nearly 400 workers were in the country illegally. But up until now none of the management or HR employees had been in trouble.

The HR employees face charges for helping to hire children under 18 into dangerous jobs and helping applicants obtain identification using false documents. The misdemeanor charges associated with state child labor law violations carry a penalty of 30 days in jail and a fine up to $625.

The felony charges associated with immigration law violations, on the other hand, carry a prison term of 2-22 years and a $750,000 fine for one of the HR employees, and up to five years and $250,00 for the other if they are convicted. One of the more egregious charges was helping employees complete new paperwork using new names and false documents one day before the raid.

Sort of puts those large discrimination settlements into context, doesn't it?

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