Attention Employers!! Are you maintaining proper employee records? What better way to start off the year than by getting in order your necessary records and files to assure your business is running legally soundly? One type of document you must keep on hand is an I-9 form for each of your employees. This form requires employees to present certain documents to you the employer to verify that they are indeed authorized to work in the U.S. (whether as citizens or non-citizens). Employers verify the documents, fill in the Employer’s section of the form, sign, and store in a safe place. Do not mail the forms or file them with any governmental agency. Instead keep them on hand, ready to be presented for inspection upon the request by a US government official. These records may be audited at anytime by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arm of the Department of Homeland Security. Publicly traded, privately held, and non-profit companies alike are all vulnerable, no matter how big or small.
The requirement to maintain properly completed I-9 forms puts the burden of verifying employee work authorization directly on the employer. Employers may face civil and criminal liabilities should an I-9 audit reveal the company hired illegal aliens, whether knowingly or unknowingly. The burdens and penalties of such an audit include significantly decreased productivity and PR image, tremendous legal expenses, substantial fines, asset forfeiture, and possible criminal charges.
The Obama Administration has used unannounced I-9 audits as one way of cracking down on illegal immigration. It is crucial to not only have the proper I-9 forms for employees, but the information must be accurate and error free. Our firm can help your company maintain better records and we can run a practice audit to see where your company stands. It is in your company’s best interest to be prepared by maintaining correct paperwork to verify that each of your employees are eligible to work in the US.
For more information and to view the I-9 form, please click here.
Devins Law Firm would be glad to assist you in an I-9 internal audit. Please contact us today to learn how we can help.
Photo courtesy of Arvind Balaraman