Screwing up your I-9s is serious business!

Making mistakes on I-9 forms can be very expensive.
Making mistakes on I-9 forms can be very expensive.

I constantly come across companies who pay scant attention to the immigration process of filling out an I-9 form. They don’t pay attention to the timing, the accuracy, or they don’t even do it at all. Making these mistakes can cost you a great deal of money.

600,000 reasons to do it right

A company in California was given 600,000 reasons to have paid attention to their I-9 paperwork. They were fined $600,000 for more than 800 immigration violations, primarily relating to Form I-9 deficiencies according to a report by Ogletree Deakins attorney Katherine MacIlwaine. According to the judge that levied the fine these were not really egregious mistakes. According to Macllwaine “The violations included failure to prepare or present Forms I-9 for certain workers, failure to timely prepare Forms I-9 for other workers, failure to ensure some employees completed certain sections of the form, failure to complete section 2 of the form (which is entitled “Employer or Authorized Representative Review and Verification”), and failure to complete section 3 of the form (which is entitled “Reverification and Rehires”).
In my opinion this is an indication of a sloppy process, lack of attention to detail, lack of knowledge of the importance and lack of ownership of the process. Do you suffer from the same problem?

Have a process

To avoid fines of $110 to $1000 per form, have a process in place. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Make sure the new employee has their part of the form complete on their first day of employment;
  2. Make sure they present for verification the appropriate ID, as detailed on the back of the form. You can send them the list ahead of time. DO NOT dictate to them what form they can present;
  3. The person that signs the form MUST see the actual ID. To sign the form without having seen the actual ID is an act of perjury.
  4. Make sure the ID is presented no later than the end of their third day of employment. If they cannot present that ID in that timely manner they MUST be terminated. If you impress on them this fact it will send the urgency of the message of bringing proper ID.

Having this process in place will help insure you don’t get fined the way the above mentioned company did.

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