Following the implementation of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, all employers in the United States must verify that their employees are eligible to work in the U.S. by completing and retaining I-9 Forms for each worker. For most employers, filling out I-9s is a standard part of the onboarding process, but the possibility of an audit by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can spell trouble even for diligent managers. The consequences of a violation can be severe.
If you need assistance resolving legal issues relating to verifying your employees’ work eligibility, you may want to consider contacting a Dalton I-9 compliance lawyer. Guidance from a seasoned immigration attorney could be a huge help when it comes to rooting out potential issues, dealing with auditing procedures, and minimizing the impact that it may have on your business.
The I-9 Form has three sections, the first of which is a new hire’s responsibility to complete accurately and truthfully before they begin work. The employer must then verify that the information is accurate and that the employee has authorization to work by checking the identifying documents the worker submitted along with their forms. This can include a driver’s license, a state ID card, a U.S. passport, a Social Security card, a Permanent Resident Card, or a number of other acceptable documents that are listed on the I-9 form.
Using these submitted documents, the employer must complete Section 2 of the I-9 Form within three business days of the employee’s first day of work. Once this is done, the employer must retain copies of each employee’s I-9 Form and identifying document(s) for either one year following the termination of that worker’s employment or three years after their initial hire date, whichever is longer.
Employers may store employee I-9s in paper form, electronic form, or microfiche, as well as in the federal government’s online E-Verify system, if they wish. However, as a Dalton I-9 compliance attorney could explain in more detail, storing I-9 Forms within E-Verify does not fulfill the federal government’s requirement for I-9 retention by itself.
If ICE suspects that an employer has hired workers without authorization to work in the United States or otherwise violated regulations regarding I-9 completion and retention, they will first send a Notice of Inspection to that employer, informing them of an upcoming audit. By doing this, ICE must grant an employer at least three days’ notice of their intended actions before they actually proceed with an audit.
Penalties for substantive violations of I-9 regulations may result in financial penalties of $100 to $1,100 per violation, and anyone who knowingly hires or continues to employ workers who do not have U.S. work authorization may be subject to fines of anywhere from $375 to $16,000 per violation. An I-9 compliance lawyer in Dalton could work diligently on behalf of any employer facing an audit to protect their rights and best interests during this process.
Filling out and keeping a copy of each employee’s I-9 may seem like a simple task to manage, but it is still an important one to pay attention to given how steep the repercussions of a mistake could be. Fortunately, help is available from knowledgeable legal professionals who know how federal laws and agencies address these kinds of matters and could help you seek a positive resolution to whatever issues your business may have.
Working with a Dalton I-9 compliance lawyer could be key to protecting your future financial security and personal freedom. Call today for a consultation.