San Diego – Even though E-Verify has been postponed until September of this year, one California company heeded the government’s warning and put all their employees through the verification process.
A Vernon, California food processing and packaging company, Overhill Farms, Inc. fired 260 workers who had given the company fraudulent Social Security numbers. The company found in a recent Internal Revenue Services audit that approximately 260 employees’ social security numbers were invalid.
Company spokesperson and board member, Alex Auerbach said, “The IRS initiated the investigation and that they (the company) had to comply with the order. We asked these employees to correct any errors within 60 days.”
According to Auerbach, the Overhill Farm management team offered to meet with any employee to provide assistance and only 17 responded. All of the 17 acknowledged that they had provided false information to the company.
Once the decision was made to let go the unverifiable employees, Local 770 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and Mexicana Latinoamericana charged the company with racism.
This prompted 75 of the Local 770 union people to protest outside the company headquarters in Vernon, charging the company “is allegedly using discrepancies in Social Security numbers as an excuse to fire higher-paid full-time workers and replace them with cheaper part-time workers, who do not enjoy benefits under the collective bargaining agreement,” union workers said.
Auerbach finds this charge ridiculous. The company found that if they continued with the undocumented-workers employment, the company and the employees would have been subject to significant criminal and civil penalties.
On top of that Overhill Farms used the current part-time pool of employees to replace the fired workers. The company employs more than 1,000 workers and all of those workers have been put through the E-Verify screening process ensuring they are in this country legally, according to Auerbach.
The protestors also claimed that the employees terminated were Hispanic and female. However, Auerbach said they replaced the workers with “a majority of Hispanic and female workers,” essentially nullifying the argument.
“We believe the protests and false accusations are calculated solely to coerce the company to ignore the law, which of course we cannot and will not do,” he finished.