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HR Insights with Ali: Why Compliance with I-9 Regulations is More Important than Ever

Posted on 12/20/2016 by Ali Oromchian, Esq.
Hiring new employees is one of the most important aspects of a successful practice. With hiring comes paperwork, including I-9 forms used to verify employment eligibility. The I-9 is the form used to ensure that your employees are eligible and authorized to work in the United States. Employment authorization ensures that your practice is in compliance with all applicable laws and protects you in case of an audit.

An employer is required to have a properly-completed I-9 for each employee, and the form must be kept on hand and presented upon request by a government agency or agent. Your I-9 forms must be kept on file for all current employees. For employees that are no longer with your Practice, you must keep their I-9 on file for 1 year after the end of employment, or 3 years from their date of hire, whichever is later. Failure to properly maintain I-9 forms can lead to fines and even criminal prosecution by the Department of Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE).

One of the biggest steps you can take to protect yourself is to ensure that your employees have completed their I-9 forms properly, and within the allotted timeframe (within 72 hours of an employee being hired). The I-9 asks for personal and identifying information such as address, name, birthday, and social security number. The I-9 also requires that the employee indicates how he or she is authorized to work in the US – i.e., a green card, permanent residency, or citizenship. The employee is required to submit documentation supporting the identifying information, and part two of the I-9 requires that the employer verify receipt and review of said documents.

Failure to properly complete and maintain I-9 forms is a risk not worth taking. If you have questions about your I-9 documentation, reach out to employment counsel or an HR expert.

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