ALL employers, with very few exceptions, are required to have a properly completed Form I-9 for every employee hired after Nov. 6, 1986. Form I-9 is essentially the form that verifies the identity of the employee and confirms their eligibility to work in the United States. As of January 22, 2017, employers must use the 11/14/2016 N version of Form I-9. You can find this updated, required version here: Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification. So, if you have a “hire packet” that you use for all new hires, you will want to make sure the “hire packet” includes the NEW version of the Form I-9.
As a reminder, employers need to develop a system to track those employees who provide proof of work eligibility with a document that expires. The law requires employers to seek re-verification of employment authorization if the prior document has expired. For example, if a new employee produces a document authorizing their ability to work in the U.S. but the document expires on December 31, 2017, the employer must seek re-verification of their continuing ability to be employed after December 31, 2017.
With the integration of this new I-9 form, now could be a good time for employers to conduct an audit of their I-9 compliance. While such audits are not legally required, they do help to ensure ongoing compliance (including, e.g., use of the new form and confirming that all employees have a properly completed form on file) and can help employers of all sizes avoid potential civil fines and criminal and other penalties. Smaller employers may want to audit all Form I-9s, while larger employers may choose to audit a valid sample of Form I-9s. However, employers cannot conduct an I-9 audit based on discriminatory or retaliatory reasons.
Our attorneys at Spengler Nathanson can assist you with conducting your audit. We can help set its scope and purpose, as well as conduct the audit if desired. We can craft communications to your employees if issues are uncovered as well as offer advice to leadership about the audit results. Further, we can help with any corrective measures deemed necessary.