Friday, September 5, 2014

Maintaining I-9 Compliance – An Essential Lesson for Employers

Matt Worley, Esq.

The federal I-9 form is one of the most recognizable forms for employers and employees.  Generally, anyone who has ever been employed has likely filled out this form during the hiring process.  However, it is very commonly filled out incorrectly.  Many employers aren’t aware of this form’s importance and thus don’t properly train their HR personnel to ensure it is properly completed.

Unfortunately, if employers knew of the stiff penalties for non-compliance, they would likely change their procedures.  Fines can range anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars per violation. 

The purpose of the I-9 form is to document that the employer verified the identity and employment authorization of new hires.  It ensures that, for instance, employers are verifying that their new hires are in the United States legally and eligible for employment.

The form has two main sections – Section 1, which must be completed by the new employee.  Section 2, however, must be completed by the employer after the employer has viewed certain identifying documents of the employee.  It is a good business practice to not only view and properly fill out this information on the I-9 form, but also to photocopy the documents as well.  Generally, these include viewing the new employee’s driver’s license and social security card, but other documents can be used as well.

The Department of Homeland Security can (and does) audit employers to ensure that they are complying with the requirements.  The result of non-compliance can be hefty fines and fees or, in the event of purposeful violations, even criminal charges.

If you have questions about the employer requirements regarding I-9 or other required forms, or would like to develop a self-audit program, contact the team of legal experts at Fausone Bohn, LLP.  Our attorneys can help you with this and any other employment or business law questions you may have.  Contact us at 248-380-0000 or online at

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