Employment verification is a requirement established by federal law. All employers must verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States. This post explains the basics of this process and provides employers with simple steps to be compliant with federal law.
Who is required to verify employment?
All employers, no matter how many employees they have, and it is required from citizens and non-citizens. Employers based in states with a large immigrant community are more familiar with this requirement. Often, employers with United States Citizens (“USC”) fail to perform the employment and identity verification process, assuming it only applies to those employers with non-citizens or immigrant employees. (the requirement to perform employment and identity verification are imposed by federal law, specifically the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA)).
Fines and penalties for non-compliance.
Failure to comply with this requirement imposed by federal law may result in fines and penalties that vary from $252 to $2,507 for the first violation or uncorrected technical errors; and $1,161 to $2,322 for second or subsequent violations.
How does this process take place?
The employment and identity verification process takes place through a standard form I-9 which can be downloaded from the following link:
The employer must provide this form to the employee and request him/her to provide the documents supporting his identity and employment eligibility. The employee must provide sufficient documentation to allow the employer to determine whether the person is eligible for employment. The employer simply needs to verify the documents based on a three-column set of documents that allows the employer to determine the identity and employment eligibility of the applicant.
Documents needed for a USC or a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR)
A USC or LPR may satisfy this requirement by providing a copy of her US Passport, US Birth Certificate, or a copy of her Permanent Resident Card.
Documents required for non-USC or LPR applicants
Those applicants for employment who are not USCs or LPRs may present a combination of documents to verify their identity and employment eligibility. These documents may include a foreign passport, state driver's license, employment authorization document, and stamped visa with an indication that the applicant is authorized to work in the United States.
The list of acceptable documents can be found on the last page of the form. Employers must retain Form I-9 for a designated period and make it available for inspection by authorized government officers.
Can my employee request more documents or requirements than those listed in the form I-9?
Generally, no, unless the employer is a governmental entity. The documents listed in the form I-9 establish the minimum requirements to receive employment in the United States, and once the applicant has satisfied these requirements, the employer should not request additional requirements or documents concerning the employee’s eligibility. Requesting additional documents may be considered employment discrimination and result in a complaint leading to civil and administrative fines.
The I-9 document applies only to private workplaces. Government entities (state, local and municipal) may impose additional requirements. Some positions require the employee to be a USC for undertaking sensible functions related to government activities.
We recommend our clients to set and follow employment eligibility and verification compliance that will facilitate I-9 Compliance and avoid potential issues regarding discrimination. Such a policy establishes the procedures to be taken by a designed person to collect and safeguard the documents and forms related to this process.
If you have any doubts or questions about this topic or any other topic on our blog, do not hesitate to contact us to evaluate your case. We can assist you with matters regarding I-9 compliance, guiding you through this process and establishing an effective policy for this process.
Our firm specializes in Business Law, Corporate Law, Litigation, Trust and Estate Planning and Asset Protection, and Immigration Law. You can schedule a 20-minute appointment using the link below:
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