Q & A: Preparing for ICE Raids and Overseas Telecommuters


Question Corner

Preparing for ICE Raids and Overseas Telecommuters

By Jason R. Mau

Q: We employ large groups of seasonal workers, many with temporary work visas, at several different sites. We also have a main office. We would like to train our front office employees on what to do if U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) shows up with a warrant for an immigration raid. What should we tell our receptionist at the main office? What should we tell our managers and site supervisors at the other worksites?

A: You should inform the receptionist (and the management at the other worksites) of the company’s management representative authorized to meet and talk with the ICE personnel and ask that the representative and legal counsel be contacted immediately in the event of a raid.  In addition, make sure that the receptionist advises the ICE officials that your company has not provided any front office employees with the authority to consent to any search.  Finally, make sure that the front office employees and site supervisors know that it is improper to instruct any employees to leave.      

Q: We have learned that a telecommuting employee has relocated to another country and is registered as a temporary resident there. Our company isn’t registered as a business in that country. Is there anything we should do further?

A: As long as the employee is still on your home office payroll, paid in U.S. Dollars to a U.S. bank account, performs duties unrelated to the country, works out of the temporary home, and has no role or interaction on the local economy there, you do not have any legal compliance issues.  Keep in mind though, you may have some internal infrastructure and security issues to address. 

Q:  We accidentally overpaid an employee by double. We have tried to work with him on repayment, but he is ignoring our requests. What recourse do we have? May we deduct the overage from his next paycheck?

A: In Idaho, you may not deduct the overage from the next paycheck unless you have a written authorization from the employee to make the deduction.  If the employee continues to ignore your requests you are within your rights to terminate his employment and file a suit to recover the overpayment. 

Q: We currently don’t require a doctor’s certification when an employee goes out on medical leave, but we have an employee who wants to take Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave to care for an ill relative in another country. May we require medical certification in this instance?

A: Yes, the FMLA Regulations allow an employer to request medical certification for any new leave request prior to approval regardless of the employer’s prior practices.

Jason R. Mau is an attorney with Greener Burke Shoemaker Oberrecht, P.A.  He can be reached at 208-319-2600 or jmau@greenerlaw.com.