There are still some employers who use illegal labor to clean large office buildings. These unscrupulous employers and their illegal employees pose several serious problems for Property Management and tenants: (1) Illegal employees are not background checked; (2) Accurate names and identification of employees are not known and may have criminal histories; (3) Exposure to increased liability for undocumented employees; (4) Exposure to embarrassment and negative PR associated with illegalities once uncovered; (5) Ties to slavery and human trafficking.  It is possible to ensure that legal employees are at your building, by working with a vendor who does not have a history of hiring of illegals, and through other contractual requirements.

It is a standard expectation, and often a contractual requirement of Property Management, to background check employees as part of the hiring process, and prior to beginning work at a Property Management location. Unfortunately, some employers hire undocumented or falsely documented employees, who cannot be validly background checked. Therefore, the criminal history of such workers at your property is completely unknown, until there is a serious problem.

Fake documentation is routinely provided by illegal workers, which unscrupulous employers accept without checking via the E-Verify process. In such occurrences, the employee’s true identity can remain intentionally unknown. As a result, the falsely identified employee never meets the security requirements of the facility, or tenant space, in which they work. And, criminals are able to work because their true identities are never disclosed.

Owners or managers of facilities wrongfully employing persons who have not been correctly background checked or identified, are at an increased risk of negligence claims or wrongful hiring claims for any wrongdoing or crime in the workplace. For example, an illegal California janitor was charged in the murder of a female office occupant. He was not background checked as part of the hiring process, exposing the Property Manager and Owner to potential liability.

Some illegal employees also have ties to human trafficking and other crimes. A man illegally employed as an Ypsilanti, Michigan janitor was convicted on charges he enslaved and violently abused four children in his home for several years. By working with vendors who do not hire illegally, or have a history of Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) violations, furtherance of human trafficking and other crimes can be avoided.

It is relatively easy to avoid the above risks and liabilities. Fortunately, employers who have a known history of ICE raids and illegal employment can easily be found and avoided by internet research. Furthermore, Property Managers can contract with credible vendors who properly utilize the E-Verify process, providing a safer workplace.


This article space is used by BOMA members to educate BOMA members! This article was written by Will Wachs, President of RWK Services, Inc. Will can be reached at or 440.526.2144

Category: General News