A question I often get is how do you verify I-9 documentation for a distant employee? After all, whoever signs the document is saying that they are attesting to the fact that they have seen the actual documents and attest to the fact that the documents look authentic in their best judgment. This means you do not want to sign this on the basis of photocopies or faxed copies. Here are four suggestions on how to get around this.
Arrange to have all your new employees come to headquarters for an orientation their first week of employment. That way you can conduct the signing where you can see the actual documents.
Have their manager travel to their location to meet with them on their first day of employment. The manager can get all the appropriate paperwork and can conduct an “orientation/welcome to the company” session. It is a very good way to connect with the new employee. They can find a local photocopier to make copies of the ID or the manager can take a photo of the ID with their smart phone and send that on to HR to print out.
Find a local Notary in the area of the employee and have them act as your agent. Attorney Daniel Brown says that many notaries are hesitant to do this kind of work unless the company gives them assurances, in writing, the company will be on the hook for any problems and not the notary. Also inform them they do not need o be acting in their official capacity as a notary. In fact they would put the hiring company name in the line under their signature and not their own company name.*
Another possible outlet for this would be to find an office for a temporary agency in the employee’s area. Enlist their help in this process, for a fee, and give them the same assurances you give the notary. The person who signs the I-9 doesn’t need to actually be an employee of the hiring company they just need to represent the company. So other possibilities could be a local banker, accountant or lawyer. Just be willing to pay for their services and provide them with proper instructions.
Also, make sure all parties are using the new I-9. Attorney Brown noted that fines for paperwork violations run anywhere from $110 to $1100 per violation. So you want to make sure you are getting them correct.
How have you tackled this problem? Leave a comment and we will get some crowdsourcing going on this.
*Source: Huge Jump in I-9 Audits