Grand American Hotel fined $2M for hiring, re-hiring undocumented workers

The Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah, is being fined $1.95 million by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for hiring undocumented workers, including illegal immigrants.

Fox 13 reported that the hotel reached a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, who audited the hotel in September 2010. The audit revealed 133 undocumented workers were hired prior to the hotel's beginning an e-verify program. Once discovered, the hotel was warned by the agency and all of the workers were let go.

However, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that lower and midlevel managers created two temporary employment agencies that were used as cover to rehire around 30 of the fired workers within days of the warning. A third agency was later created and used to rehire 13 more employees.

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Grand America Hotels and Resorts, who owns properties in Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, California and Idaho, will be paying the fine. Brett Tolman, an attorney for Grand America, told the Salt Lake Tribune that top-level executives have not been targeted by the federal probe.

"It’s fair to say, at no time were we ever informed or was there ever an indication any of the top executives or owners were the subjects of a criminal investigation," Tolman told the Salt Lake Tribune. 

Grand America has also done its own internal investigation during the process, and according to Staffing Industry Analysts the company is expected to take additional measures that will cost approximately $500,000 to implement. Four managers were fired and two others were reprimanded as a result of the investigation.

“All industries, regardless of size, location and type are expected to comply with the law,” Kumar Kibble, special agent in charge of HSI Denver, which oversees Utah investigations, told Fox 13. “As this significant settlement demonstrates, there are real consequences for businesses that employ an illegal workforce.”

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