DOL increases penalties for labor and immigration violations

The U.S. Department of Labor has increased the price tag for employers that violate wage-and-hour, safety and immigration laws. The new fines, which raise civil penalties by up to 150%, take effect Aug. 1.

Fines for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions will spike from $1,100 to $1,894 each. OSHA’s maximum fines, last raised in 1990, will jump by 78%. The max penalty for serious violations will rise from $7,000 to $12,471.

Also, now’s a good time to review your process for completing I-9 forms, as fines for mistakes will nearly double.  The new rules increase I-9 paperwork violations from a maximum of $1,100 to $2,156. The minimum per-violation penalty rises from $110 to $216.

The minimum penalty for knowingly employing an undocumented worker jumps from $375 to $539 per employee, with the maximum increasing from $3,200 to $4,313 per worker. Civil penalties for violations of H-1B, H-2B and H-2A temporary work visa program will also be increased.

Congress approved these higher amounts last winter and also directed federal agencies to adjust their civil penalties for inflation each year. Find more details and a chart on the new limits at