Archive for May, 2013

New Hires

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Starting May 7, 2013, every employer will need to have all new employees sign  the new Form I-9 when verifying their employment eligibility.  Unlike with previous revisions, the Department of Homeland Security has stated that all prior editions of the I-9 are no longer acceptable.  The new I-9, which generally must be completed and signed by the new hire on the first day of the job, contains additional data fields, including foreign passport number and country of issuance, as well as optional data fields, including the new hire’s e-mail address and telephone number.

Employers failing to use the new I-9 face a civil penalty in an amount not less than $110 and not more than $1,100 for each violation.  While a single violation may not hurt your bottom line, the penalties can quickly rack up if you have multiple new hires.

When completing the form, employers need to remember that they must physically inspect the original identity and employment authorization documents presented by the new hire.  This duty to inspect, however, doesn’t mean that you suddenly need to be an expert on spotting a real driver’s license from a phony.  It just means that you need to look at the actual documents presented in good faith.  In fact, the law requires that you accept the verification documents if they reasonably appear on their face to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting them.  If you fail to do so, the new hire could claim that you’ve engaged in unlawful discrimination.

The new I-9 expires on March 31, 2016.  Consequently, the form should last for a while.  But it never hurts to review your employment forms annually to make sure that you’re using the most up-to-date forms.