The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana announced that a U.S. employer pled guilty to a one-count Bill of Information where the employer was charged with harboring illegal aliens at a mushroom farm in Louisiana. The employer was sentenced to three years of probation and forfeited over $1 million in illegal gains from employing the unauthorized workers. In addition, the employer was ordered to comply with future immigration inspections and to provide training to their managers and hiring personnel on U.S. immigration laws.

The Bill of Information charged the employer with rehiring several of the same workers who were terminated earlier as a result of a previous government inspection of the farm where these workers were found to be unauthorized to work in the United States. The employer rehired them using different names, even though the company records showed that they were terminated.

This case involves an employer that willfully circumvented immigration rules to intentionally hire undocumented workers. It is important to note that employers can unwittingly fall into a situation involving the rehire of a worker who was previously identified as undocumented. These cases are challenging and should be assessed on a case-by-case basis, particularly if the company has a consistently applied honesty policy and/or the employee has secured work authorization since his or her last period of employment with the company.