On Jan. 31, 2020, USCIS published the Form I-9 Federal Register notice announcing a new version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. This new version contains minor changes to the form and its instructions. Employers should begin using this updated form as of Jan. 31, 2020. Employers may continue using the prior version of the form (Rev. 07/17/2017 N) until April 30, 2020. After that date, they can only use the new form with the 10/21/2019 version date. The version date is located in the lower left corner of the form. The major changes are to the form's instructions, which include: 1. Clarified who can act as an authorized representative on behalf of an employer 2. Updated USCIS website addresses 3. Provided clarifications on acceptable documents for Form I-9 4. Updated the process for requesting paper Forms I-9 5. Updated the DHS Privacy Notice
This spring, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) has begun sending “Employment Correction Request Notices,” or no-match letters, to all employers with at least one W-2 form in which an employee's name and Social Security number (“SSN”) does not match their records. Employers who receive such letters should not use the letters as reason to take adverse employment actions against their employees. In fact, such action may violate the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of national origin, citizenship status or immigration status, document abuse during the employment eligibility verification process, and retaliation. Instead, employers should inform the employee of the no-match, verify the accuracy of their personnel records, and give the employee a reasonable time to contact the SSA office and correct the error. For a complete list of steps employers should take upon receiving a no-match letter and information on how to avoid no-match letters, please see this month’s copy of the HLG Advocate. If you have questions regarding this matter, please contact your HLG attorney or Rebecca M. Baibak, Esq. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On August 7, 2017, the Ninth Circuit upheld charges against DLS Precision Fab LLC, a now bankrupt sheet metal company, which resulted in $305,000 in penalties for employing unauthorized immigrants. In this decision the court rejecting the company’s arguments that a rogue HR director was to blame. DLS was found to have failed to comply with the INA’s worker verification requirements and employed more than a dozen individuals known to be ineligible to work in the U.S. DLS attributed its failure to properly vet employees on a rogue HR director who, unbeknownst to it, shirked compliance to the point “of literally stuffing the government’s correspondence in a drawer and never responding.” The Court was not persuaded by this argument. The bulk of the charges stem from I-9 violations. I-9 violations are not merely violations when filed but remain continuing violations until DLS is no longer required by law to retain them (three years from the date of hire or one year after termination). As for retaining eligible employees, the clock starts upon termination. DLS was therefore not able to use the statute of limitations as a defense. While these appear to be a pretty blatant violations, it is still a good reminder that properly vetting your employees and maintaining your I-9 records is very important.
ICE recently provided some updated data regarding I-9 audits and recents fines against U.S. businesses. 4,000 business have been subject to I-9 investigations since FY 2009 with over $7 million in fines being levied. If you have not audited your I-9 records lately, it may be a good item to add to your task list. For information on how HLG could assist with compliance related matters, please contact Sherry Neal at email@example.com
Last week, ICE issued 1000 subpoenas directed at companies throughout the US. The ICE investigation is focused on I-9 compliance and unauthorized employment. For questions about HLG's compliance practice, contact Sherry Neal at firstname.lastname@example.org