The Form I-9 is a document used by employers to verify the identity and employment authorization of new employees. It may seem like just another administrative task for employers, but the importance of the I-9 cannot be overstated. In this blog, we will discuss the reasons why the Form I-9 is crucial for employers and the consequences of failing to comply with its requirements.
1. Legal Compliance
First and foremost, employers must complete Form I-9 for every employee hired after November 6, 1986, to comply with the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). Failure to comply with the IRCA’s Form I-9 requirements can result in severe legal consequences, including civil and criminal penalties, fines, and even imprisonment.
2. Protecting Employers from Discrimination Claims
The Form I-9 process helps employers avoid discrimination claims. By requiring all new employees to complete the form and provide valid identification, the employer treats all applicants equally. It ensures that the employer is not discriminating based on national origin, citizenship status, or any other protected characteristic.
3. Verification of Employment Authorization
Completing Form I-9 helps employers verify that their employees are authorized to work in the United States. Employers must review an employee’s acceptable documents, such as a U.S. passport, permanent resident card, or employment authorization document, to confirm that they are authorized to work in the U.S. This helps to prevent the hiring of unauthorized workers, which can result in significant fines and other penalties for employers.
Employers must keep completed I-9 forms for three years after the date of hire or one year after the date of termination, whichever is later. This record-keeping requirement helps to protect employers from potential legal action or audits by government agencies. Proper record-keeping can also help to protect employers from fines and penalties.
In conclusion, the importance of the Form I-9 cannot be overstated. The form helps employers comply with federal immigration laws, avoid discrimination claims, verify employment authorization, and maintain proper records. Failure to comply with Form I-9 requirements can lead to serious legal and financial consequences. Therefore, it is essential for employers to take this process seriously and ensure that they are fully compliant with all I-9 requirements.
OmniaHR is here to help with all things HR related. If you have questions on the I9 or would like to do an I9 audit of your forms, please contact us today.