In a press release, the DOJ alleged that “Infosys failed to maintain I-9 records for many of its foreign nationals in the United States in 2010 and 2011 as required by law, including a widespread failure to update and re-verify the employment authorization status of a large percentage of its foreign national employees. More than 80 percent of Infosys’s I-9 forms for 2010 and 2011 contained substantive violations.”
This staggering blow to a recognized giant highlights why HR professionals are so arduous in their efforts to make sure I-9 forms are completed correctly. Each error on an I-9 form is considered a separate violation and the fine for each is $110 with a maximum of $1,100 per form. These costs can add up quickly for any sized employer.
It is important that your company have a system in place for handling the I-9 process. Pages 1-6 of the I-9 form provide instructions on how to fill it out. Pages 7 – 9 must be given to the employee. Below are some general tips:
- Every employee must complete page 7 of the I-9 form.
- Every employer must complete page 8 by the third day of employment.
- Page 9 of the I-9 form lists acceptable documents.
- For the employer to complete page 8, the employee needs to produce either a List A Document; OR a List B AND a List C document
- List A Documents, such as a US Passport, prove both identity and employment authorization, so you only need one.
- List B Documents, such as a Drivers’ License prove only identity.
- List C Documents, such as a Social Security Card prove only employment authorization.
- An employer may not tell an employee which documents they must use. If they have a valid document from the appropriate list, the employer must accept that document.
- The employer must see original documents; photocopies are not valid and social security cards that are laminated are not valid.
- The I-9 form must be retained for a minimum of three years or one year after an employee’s termination date, whichever is longer
To reduce risk, there are many other factors that a good I-9 program should include. We can help you create a plan that is both efficient and compliant. Minimally, we hope that the heightened awareness of the fines and costs assess-able will lead employers to give this process the attention it deserves.
Dan Jacey, SPHR is a guest blogger and HR Manager for SERPEO.
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