I-9 Self-Audit in 14 Steps or Less

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1 I-9 Self-Audit in 14 Steps or Less FEATURED FACULTY: David C. Whitlock, Miller & Martin PLLC (404)

2 David C. Whitlock, Miller & Martin PLLC Dave has over 25 years of experience in business immigration, compliance, employment counseling, and training. In addition, Dave has extensive experience handling employment-related visa work, including both temporary and permanent visa cases, as well as advice regarding compliance with the I-9, discrimination, and document abuse provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 and litigation arising under that statute. He is a frequent lecturer and presenter on immigration and compliance topics and best practices in employment-related topics.

3 **Certificates of attendance and CEUs, when available, must be requested through the online evaluation.** Evaluation for Live Event: We d like to hear what you thought about the audio conference. Please take a moment to fill in the survey located here: Requests for continuing education credits and certificates of attendance must be submitted within 10 days of the live event. Evaluation for CD Recording: Please use the following link to submit your evaluation of the recorded event: Please note: All links are case sensitive Receive 1.25 recertification credit hours toward PHR and SPHR recertification through the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI)! For more information about certification or recertification, please visit the HRCI homepage at "The use of this seal is not an endorsement by the HR Certification Institute of the quality of the program. It means that this program has met the HR Certification Institute's criteria to be preapproved for recertification credit."

4 ICE Ain t Cool So Fix Your I-9 Forms Now David C. Whitlock, Esq. Miller & Martin PLLC Atlanta, GA Increased Enforcement Recent Developments Federal Legislation State Legislation 1

5 Increasing Enforcement Bush Administration raids have been replaced by Obama Administration audits and fines. Still no clear sense of direction on immigration policy, so enforcement continues. Enforcement efforts will focus upon repeat offenders and likely targets for fines in the hopes of having wins to report before November. Targeted Industries Agriculture Construction Food Processing Hospitality Textiles Others in national infrastructure 2

6 States Requiring Use of E-Verify Required for all employers Alabama Arizona Georgia (>10 employees) Louisiana (or check multiple documents, keep copies) Mississippi North Carolina (> 6 employees) South Carolina Tennessee (>6 employees) Utah (>15 employees) States Requiring Use of E-Verify Required for state contractors Colorado (must also keep photocopies) Florida Georgia Idaho (if getting economic stimulus $$) Indiana Minnesota (if getting economic stimulus $$) Missouri (contracts or grants above $5,000) Nebraska Oklahoma Pennsylvania Utah Virginia (>50 workers; contract > $50,000) 3

7 States Restricting or Limiting E-Verify California Illinois Rhode Island IRCA Basics: Prohibited Acts Knowingly hire an alien who is not authorized to work Hire any individual without verifying identity and work authorization Continue the employment of a person if the employer knows or should know the person is not authorized to work 4

8 IRCA Basics: Prohibited Acts Require an employee to present any specific document or combination of documents for I- 9 purposes Require an employee to present more or different documents than are minimally required for the employment verification process Refuse to accept documents tendered by an employee that reasonably appear to be genuine on their face IRCA Basics: Penalties I-9 paperwork violations result in penalty of $110 to $1,100 for each individual Usually, the fine is $1000 per incorrect form. What a STUPED way to spend money!! 5

9 IRCA Basics: Penalties Fine for Knowing Employment Violations $375 to $3,200 First Violation $3,200 to $6,500 Second Violation $4,300 to $16,000 Third + Criminal Sanctions Are Almost Certain After A First Violation!! Criminal Penalties??!! 10 years and/or $250,000 fine for harboring, smuggling, concealing, or transporting illegal aliens for financial gain But, I didn t do it for financial gain. Oh Yes You Did. 6

10 Photocopy Rule Copying of documents presented by the employee permitted but not required Mere copying of documents does not constitute compliance and will result in penalties if form is not also properly completed Photocopies can be used to correct problems identified during a periodic self-audit or in advance of a government audit Rehired Employees A new I-9 form need not be completed for persons re-hired within three years of completing a prior I-9 form Instead, the employer can update the prior I-9 form by confirming that the employment eligibility document originally presented remains valid If still valid, the employer merely records the re-hire date in Section 3 of the form 7

11 Reverification If the employee's work authorization document expires, you must reverify the employee s right to work prior to the expiration of the current work authorization document Only reverify on the basis of the document presented; ignore any expiration date in Section 1 Failure to make a timely reverification is almost always construed as knowingly continuing the employment of an alien who lacks authorization to work Reverification Reverification is accomplished by examining a new work authorization document and completing Section 3 of the form The new document type, number, and expiration date, if any, should be recorded in Section 3 and the employer should sign and date Section 3 of the form Reverification is not necessary for identity documents, U.S. passports, or Permanent Resident cards 8

12 Retention of I-9 Forms I-9 forms must be retained for three years from the date work commences and for one year from the date employment terminates If you do not meet both tests, do not throw out the form This means an employer must have a form for every single current employee hired after November 6, 1986 Retention of I-9 Forms Keep I-9 forms in files separate from employees personnel files, so that ICE does not obtain access to information in personnel files in the event of an audit We recommend you keep current employee forms separate from terminated employee forms Keeping I-9 forms separate makes it easier to pull them quickly in the event of an audit and easier to correct 9

13 So, what do we do?? Audit your I-9 forms. Enforcement today will almost certainly begin with an I-9 audit by ICE. Use SSA online verification. DO NOT sign up for E-Verify or IMAGE programs until mandatory. Review and process mismatch letters. Follow the terms of the DHS safe harbor rule. Create paper buffer with contractors. Urge Congress to enact CIR. Step 1 Generate a list of employees hired since November 6, It will be easier later if the list matches the order in which your I- 9 forms are filed. The list should show last name, first name, date of hire, date of termination, and some distinguishing fact, e.g., SSN or DOB, in case two employees have the same name. For persons rehired, show each start/term date. 10

14 Step 2 Calculate the retention dates for persons on the list by comparing date of hire, date of termination, and the date of your self-audit. The easiest way to do this is to write down the date that is one calendar year prior to the audit date. That becomes the target termination date. Then subtract two years to get the target hire date. Highlight the names of those for whom you don t need to keep a form. Step 3 Pull forms for highlighted names from the I-9 file. Do not throw them away until someone else has confirmed that you need no longer retain the form by confirming that the two retention tests (three years from date of hire and one year from date of termination) have been met. Hold onto these forms in case you need them to complete a later I-9 form. 11

15 Step 4 Begin checking I-9 forms, working in the same order as the names on the list. As each form is reviewed, put a check mark on the list next to the appropriate name. Set aside forms for whom there is no name on the list as you go through it, as these are probably forms for people whose names changed. Step 5 Use stick-on notes to show problems with the forms. Be aware that forms may have multiple problems. Do not circle errors or write notes on original forms. 12

16 Step 6 Begin correcting forms that have been reviewed. If you have retained photocopies of documents, many form deficiencies may be cured. In addition, information from employee personnel files may be helpful. If anything is added to Section 1 of the form, remember to complete the Preparer/Translator portion of the form. Use the audit date as the date to insert in the Preparer/Translator portion of the form. Step 6.5 If information is added to the form, try to use the same color ink. Do not use correction fluid or tape to cover up incorrect information or for any other purpose; instead, simply cross out the incorrect information. If you are adding information to the form, it is optional to include the words Self- Audit and the date of the audit. 13

17 Step 7 If necessary, ask employees to sign or date Section 1 of the form or present correct documents. Step 8 As forms are corrected, cross out items on the stick-on notes. When all items are crossed out, remove the stick-on note. When the form is correct, re-file it. Annotate the list to show how forms have been corrected. This helps identify recurring problems for training purposes. 14

18 Step 9 There may be some forms which simply cannot be cured. For example, you may have terminated employees from whom you accepted invalid documents, but the form cannot yet be discarded. Annotate the list to show a major problem, remove the stick-on note, and re-file the form. Step 10 When you have reviewed all forms and corrected all defects, review the annotated list to see what forms you are missing. See if any of the forms you set aside for lack of a name on the list should be filed under a different name. Any employees for whom no form can be found should be called in immediately to complete a form. 15

19 Step 11 If a significant number of forms are missing or defective for terminated employees, consider keeping separate I-9 files for current and terminated employees. This may be helpful during the process of discarding forms periodically, and there is less likelihood that ICE will ask to see forms for terminated employees if the forms for current employees are in good shape. Step 12 Add up the number of missing forms and major problems to calculate your exposure. Missing forms are generally penalized at around $1100 per form for the record-keeping violation plus around $1500 per person for a knowing employment violation. (ICE assumes that persons without forms are illegal.) Major problems usually result in fines of $1000 per form. 16

20 Step 13 Discard forms that you are certain you need not keep. Follow the retention rule closely: Have I kept the form for 3 years from DOH?... And... Have I kept for form for 1 year form DOT? Step 14 Plan your next I-9 audit. If your exposure in Step 12 is significant, consider immediate training of staff who complete I-9 forms so that you can minimize the potential exposure going forward. 17

21 Correcting Forms You cannot fix late completions, untimely reverifications, or missing status information for terminated employees. If information is missing, get it and add it to the form late is better than missing or wrong. NEVER use correction fluid or blacken out information! Instead, line through the erroneous information in a nondestructive manner. Write the new information in the adjacent margin. Optional to initial and date the change. Write self-audit next to change. Filing System File all current employee forms alphabetically by last name in binders. For current employees with an employment authorization expiration date, create a tickler file. Label 15 manila folders one for each month and one for each of the next 3 years. Sort I-9s chronologically according to the date the work authorization expires. 18

22 More Filing System Sort I-9s chronologically according to the month or year the work authorization expires. Work this folder 30 days in advance and call in workers to remind them of the need to bring in documents for reverification and completion of Section 3 of the form. As you complete Section 3, re-file the form in the ticker or main alpha file. Still More Filing System Create the same manila folder system for terminated employee forms and sort them by month and/or year according to the discard date. Work this file two months behind i.e., two months prior to the current month. Confirm that the retention tests have been met before discarding forms. 19

23 If ICE Comes Knocking Insist on the 3 Day Notice period Make and keep copies of ALL documents you give to ICE/DOL Get name, telephone number, business card of lead agent Do not consent to ICE speaking to employees on premises -- ask them politely to stop Prepare memorandum setting out what happened If you allow inspection on site, keep agents away from employees and other business records THANK YOU David C. Whitlock, Esq. Miller & Martin PLLC Atlanta, Georgia (404)

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