Recently, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) announced that the agency would significantly increase worksite investigations of employers in 2018. Employers of all sizes are subject to audits of workers’ employment eligibility through notices of inspection (also called I-9 audit notices). Last week, ICE inspected ninety-eight 7-Eleven franchises across the nation for I-9 compliance.
All employers are required to maintain accurate I-9 forms for all employees currently employed as well as for certain former employees. Employers are also responsible for ensuring that the correct version of the I-9 form for each employee is filled out accurately and completely with all necessary attachments. There are special rules concerning the correction of an I-9 form, so employers must be cautious if an error on an I-9 form is discovered. As a practical matter, employers should also be mindful of where the I-9 forms are maintained. Best practices dictate that I-9 forms be maintained separately from employee personnel files, so they are readily available in the event of an audit.
Employers should recognize that penalties can be imposed for technical noncompliance with I-9 requirements even if all of the employer’s employees are eligible to work in the United States. Penalties for noncompliance can include civil penalties, criminal penalties, loss of business license, and debarment from federal contracts.
What Does This Mean For You? All employers should have an I-9 compliance plan and train appropriate personnel on the importance of I-9 compliance. Employers should audit their own I-9 compliance at least annually. Audit items should include a review that the most current I-9 forms are being used for new hires, that the forms are being completed correctly, and that the forms are maintained in an appropriate location.
If you have any questions about this or any other employment or labor law issue, please contact Grace Nguyen Bond at 717-509-7226 or email@example.com, or Whitney Rahman at 717-509-7237 or firstname.lastname@example.org.