Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I-9 Compliance... what is an employer's responsibility?

Employers often feel nervous about accepting I-9 documents for employment verification. Some human resources officers feel the stress about getting it wrong. So, what kind of care should employers exercise while reviewing the I-9 forms?

Well, the manual states this: if documents reasonably appear on their face to be genuine and relate to the person presenting them, the employer must accept the documents.

Key words in the above statement are: reasonably, face, and relate. If a candidate presents papers bearing a photo identification that resembles the person presenting them, then the employer need not worry. The test is “reasonableness”—what would a reasonable employer do?

So, what to do? 

Exercising reasonable care is a bit more complicated than it sounds. The care exercised by a reasonable employer must be greater than a random person off the street would exercise. But reasonable also doesn’t mean that the employer act with the vigilance of a border patrol officer. As long as the document presented resembles the person presenting, and on its face (i.e., without the use of forensics) it appears genuine, and meets the other elements of due care that an employer must exercise, the employer likely meets the good faith compliance duty against any potential charges of knowingly hiring an unverified or unverifiable candidate.

Review the employer's handbook published by the USCIS:

Also, sign up for e-verify. Learn more about e-verify . If the automatic link does not work, click on: http://goo.gl/ormdO

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