If you have more than a few employees, you are probably no stranger to the I-9 form. Thankfully, this form, which verifies the identity and employment authorization of new workers, comes with comprehensive instructions. Still, making certain missteps on the I-9 may lead to allegations you have discriminated against workers.
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, illegal discrimination may include either national origin discrimination or citizenship status discrimination. Fortunately, implementing a few policies may help you avoid a costly discrimination charge.
Accept any acceptable documents
Employees must provide documentation that proves their identity and work authorization by the end of their third day of employment. The I-9 comes with a list of acceptable documents to show employees exactly what they may present.
Provided your employees give you an acceptable document or a combination of acceptable ones, you should not ask for different or additional documentation.
Treat everyone the same
Discrimination charges often come from the differential treatment of employees. Therefore, when going through the employment eligibility verification process, you should treat every employee the same. Even if you make some mistakes, treating employees equally makes you look like you have non-discriminatory practices.
Only reverify when necessary
When an employee’s work authorization expires, it is usually necessary to examine new documentation and update your I-9. If you have U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents on your payroll, though, you probably never need to reverify work eligibility during the course of employment.
These smart practices should not come as much of a surprise to you. Ultimately, if something on this list seems different than what you are currently doing, it may be time to reread the I-9’s instructions and the USCIS’s Handbook for Employers.