By: La Toya Palmer – 5/29/14
Employers should audit their I-9 employment eligibility verification forms at least once a year. I like to suggest mid-year, late May or early June, so that if the process needs to be tweaked or an issue is identified, the employer can self-correct early on. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) enforces employer compliance with I-9 requirements. To ensure your company is in compliance remember these five “Do’s and Don’ts.”
- DO require all new hires to fill out a completed and current I-9 form on their first day of work. Always check to make sure that the employee signed the form to void possible penalties.
- DON’T ask an applicant to complete an I-9 prior to making a job offer. Collecting this information prior to making an offer can expose employers to potential discrimination claims made by disgruntled applicants who didn’t get the job.
- DO establish a consistent procedure for your I-9 process completion. Make sure that your hiring managers are educated on that process and understand the importance of following it.
- DON’T ask the new hire to bring in certain types of documentation or for more documents than the I-9 requires. Let the employee look at the requisite documents and make their own decision regarding which form of documentation they will bring.
- DO make and retain copies of all I-9 documentations in a file separate from the rest of the personnel files. Employers should keepI-9’s and supporting documentation for three years after the new hire’s start date or one year after his or her termination date, whichever comes later.
Non-compliance with I-9 regulations can prove costly for employers, with fines for poor documentation going upwards to $1,100 per form violation. In addition, knowingly hiring an illegal immigrant has a civil penalty of $16,000 for each worker. These costly fines can be avoided by simply conducting a mid-year check-up to audit your I-9 forms and ensure you are in compliance.