If you have worked in the United States for a private company or a chain, then you have filled out an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form. The form which is issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security is only used to verify the employee about to be hired has authorization to work in the U.S. All employers are required to have each I-9 form executed and appropriately completed by the employee otherwise (the employee) will be exposed to criminal and civil sanctions if failing to do so.
Employers often fail to follow the straightforward process when filing an I-9 form properly. The employee needs to provide proper identification and proof evidencing the authorization to work in the U.S. If the information provided from the employee is genuine. The company may record the documentation to the I-9 form. Maintaining inspection of these forms is imperative to every employer. The filing of such forms is subject to three years from the date of hire. Retention of this form is documented for three years even if the employee no longer is employed beyond this time frame.
Before diving deeper into the do’s and don’ts, let’s first discuss ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). ICE has committed to enforcing the correct completion of I-9 forms. Audits have increased each year exponentially ever since 2018. Failure to comply with accepting uncompleted I-9 conditions could result in monetary fines and violations. Employers who have knowingly hired unauthorized workers will require to cease this unlawful activity or subdue to criminal prosecution immediately. These violation fees can range anywhere from $100 to $1,100 each, not to mention fines coming directly from an ICE investigation can be even more substantial.
The best practice to prevent an increase in investigations by ICE is to first conduct an internal audit within the business or entity at least every six months. Internal audits of I-9 forms ensure compliance readiness should an ICE inspection come knocking on your door. The next crucial point would be to train your staff and insert a policy maintaining I-9 forms and destroying them when permitted to do so. Having a legal services protocol in place should also be implemented. Employers should consult with legal counsel before speaking with ICE. In the event of an ICE investigation, reaching out to Enara Law may prevent substantial violations. Knowledge of good faith efforts for compliance may help mitigate the potential penalties should a matter arise. Contact Enara Law today at (602) 687-2010 or email us at [email protected]