United States immigration and labor laws state that only qualified individuals are able to seek employment within the United States. This includes people who are natural-born citizens, people who obtained later citizenship, legal permanent residents (green card holders), and people on work visas.
While the law creates these barriers to individuals seeking employment, it also places a burden on employers to conform with these laws. The primary vehicle to accomplish this is Form I-9. Form I-9 is a tool that workplaces use to fulfill their obligations under the law and to ensure that their employees have the proper legal status.
A Wheaton I-9 compliance lawyer could help employers to understand and meet their obligations under labor and immigration laws. Attorneys could provide more information about the I-9 program and work with employers to fulfill their roles and avoid any legal liability.
What Is the I-9 Program?
The I-9 program is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) way of ensuring that potential candidates for jobs in the United States are legally able to take up employment. The form requires that candidates provide proof of their legal immigration status.
For United States citizens, this could involve providing a United States passport, or a combination of a Social Security card and a driver’s license. Non-citizens could rely on a permanent resident card or a foreign passport that contains a temporary I-551 stamp that provides authorization to work. Employers must take copies of these documents and keep them on file for potential inspection. A Wheaton I-9 compliance lawyer could provide more information about the I-9 program and its role in ensuring a legal workforce.
What is the Obligation of Employers in Ensuring I-9 Compliance?
While potential workers bear the burden of producing documentation that establishes their eligibility to seek employment, employers also have a role to play. While it is unreasonable to expect employers to be experts in verifying the authenticity of relevant documents, workplaces must make a cursory attempt to verify the information contained on those documents.
For example, an employer should check pictures to match with the applicant, compare birthdates, and check for any authentication marks on the document. A failure to fulfill this obligation is a violation of federal law and carries civil monetary penalties. Even worse, an employer who knowingly employs illegal aliens or any person who does not have authorization to work could face Department of Labor investigations or even criminal charges.
A Wheaton I-9 compliance lawyer could help companies to meet their obligations under the I-9 program. A lawyer could provide guidance in evaluating the authenticity of employee-provided documents as well as to keep a proper filing system in case of an audit. Finally, a lawyer could help companies when the time comes to renew a current worker’s I-9 paperwork.
Let a Wheaton I-9 Compliance Attorney Protect the Company
I-9 compliance is a major task in human resource departments. All workplaces should have new hires complete this paperwork before starting work, but in no case may an employer wait more than three days. A worker must provide proof of his or her ability to work in the United States. This could include a passport, a green card, or visa paperwork from the USCIS.
A workplace must take proper steps to determine the authenticity of this paperwork. Employers should also keep all I-9 paperwork on file and create replacements when necessary. A failure to accomplish these steps could lead to fines, Department of Labor investigations, or allegations of harboring illegal aliens.
A Wheaton I-9 compliance attorney could help companies to avoid this unfortunate result. Legal professionals could provide more information about the I-9 program, help to authenticate employment documents, and fight to protect companies in case of allegations of I-9 violations. Contact a Wheaton I-9 compliance attorney today to schedule a consultation.