I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification

Since November 6, 1986 employers have been required to verify employee’s authorization to work in the United States by completing the  I-9 document with their employees.  The I-9 has two sections; an employee section where the workers attests to their status and an employer section where an authorized representative is to certify that they have viewed the employee's documentation supporting their status, find the documents genuine to the best of their ability and to the best of their knowledge believe the person is eligible to work in the United States.

Every employee you hire must complete the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification within 3 business days of their start date. If the newly hired employee does not complete the form in that time frame and/or cannot produce the supporting documents to verify their eligibility, you can terminate them for cause.

You should not pick or choose whom to have complete this document as you risk the actions being misconstrued as a form of discrimination.  There is a clear anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act which speaks to prohibitions of four types of unlawful conduct:

  1. Citizenship or immigration status discrimination;
  2. National origin discrimination;
  3. Unfair documentary practices during Form I-9 process (document abuse); and
  4. Retaliation

Civil Penalties in brief:

  1. Knowingly Hired Unauthorized Aliens: first offense can range from $375 to $3200 per worker
  2. Failing to comply with Form I-9 requirements: ranges from $110 to $1,100 for each violation

If you can, we suggest you review this Handbook for Employers (M-274). It is a large document produced by the US Citizenship & Immigration Services which is part of the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS).  It covers every possible scenario for you.  The Q&A sections are very informative.

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