When it comes to I-9 compliance, employers aren’t afforded much wiggle room. The laws are in place for a reason, and it’s up to contractors to make a good faith effort to follow them. Once a potential hire accepts a job offer, it’s your responsibility to have them fill out Form I-9 and verify that all of their information and documents are correct and authentic, as we discussed in part one.
Failure to maintain I-9 compliance could cripple your business. Our Jacksonville construction lawyers have seen firsthand how severe penalties (up to $16,000 per violation) can derail a project and squander your bottom line. That is why we recommend partnering with our experienced Jacksonville construction lawyers to ensure that your workplace is free of I-9 violations.
Consistency is Key
The U.S. Department of Justice’s immigration and employee rights section is keen to investigate cases involving I-9 noncompliance. If you want to protect your business against violations, it’s important to establish a consistent set of guidelines for ensuring that all hires are vetted and processed fully before coming onboard. Treat all potential hires the same during the I-9 process. There’s no space for interpretation, and discrepant approaches have resulted in bias claims in the past, regardless of whether that bias was intentional or not. Here are some tips for maintaining a consistent I-9 process:
- Begin the I-9 process as soon as the job offer is accepted.
- Inform employees about which specific documents they should bring prior to their first day of work.
- Send workers home if they fail to provide the proper documents.
- Conduct an I-9 self audit every year, especially if your business experiences a lot of turnover.
- Partner with Jacksonville construction attorneys to ensure that there are no holes in your process.
As an employer, there may come a day when the information being relayed to you doesn’t seem to match the employee providing it. While many I-9 obstacles are relatively easy to overcome (i.e., matching a photo to a person’s real visage, ensuring names are consistent), others can be significantly more challenging. For instance, determining whether a holographic feature is missing or simply faded can be tough. Similarly, mismatched names could be a product of marriage rather than an attempt to infiltrate your business. Keep in mind that the law requires you to view the original documents in person. In other words, you can’t rely on a fax or email to verify I-9 compliance.
If you receive a no-match letter from the Social Security Administration, or you’ve caught an inconsistency during an audit, consult our Jacksonville construction attorneys to ensure that your rights are protected.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.