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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Employment Verification - Form I-9

On May 7th, 2013, a new version of the Form I-9 became effective and employers must only use this newer form for their Employment Eligibility Verification.  This is a form that will help you verify and authorize your employees.  Let’s spend a few minutes discussing what this form is and how it works.  As always, if you have comments, please feel free to add your thoughts to the discussion below this post.

Employment Verification - Form I-9

Prior to the Form I-9, employers were not required to prove the legality of an immigrant seeking employment.  However, the I-9 was created out of the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986, tasking employers with identifying and verifying their workers right to work.  Since then, the Form has undergone several revisions as additional laws have been rolled out, but still remains the primary form used in reviewing the status of a person’s right to work in this country legally.  Employees must keep Companies are required to review documents supporting an employee’s claim to legality.  This is enforced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Identification

When the I-9 Form was first introduced, employers could choose from any of 29 different forms of identification to prove an employees’ right to work.  This has evolved into a much shorter list over time.  You need the documents to do two things; prove that an employee is who they say they are, and prove that they are eligible to work in the United States.  As of this writing, these are some of the documents that the government finds acceptable for identification: 

List A Documents - Prove both Identity and Employment Eligibility
  United States Passport
  Permanent Resident Card or Registration Receipt Card
  Employment Authorization Card
  Some Foreign Passports

List B Documents - Prove only Identity
  Driver’s License
  Federal/State Identification Card
  School ID Card with photo
  Voter Registration Card
  U.S. Military Card / Draft Record
  Military Dependent’s ID Card

List C Documents - Prove only Employment Eligibility
  Social Security Card (unrestricted)
  Birth Certificate
  US Citizen or Resident Citizen ID Card

This is only a partial list of all of these documents.  If you have a question about a particular document that you have been presented, be sure to research it further with the USCIS.  While not required, it is highly recommended that Employers retain a copy of these identifying documents with the I-9.  Be sure to keep all of these documents in a separate file from the rest of an employee’s documentation to minimize the possibility of the documents from forming a basis for discrimination.  Also, per the DHS, “You should not shred previously retained copies of documents. DHS regulations provide that once copies of documents are made, they must be retained with the Forms I-9.”

Enforcement

Failure to make appropriate use of the I-9 Form, failure to review acceptable documentation, and failure to keep and maintain proper I-9 documentation can result in a loss of government contracts, serious civil fines, and even criminal penalties.  There are very detailed charts and lists under the websites for both the USCIS and ICE detailing the level of penalty that an employer could face for failure to heed the law.  Monetary loss due to fines on a single worker could range from $110 for a failure to complete the I-9 properly, and up to $16,000 for repeated hiring offenses.  Once you add in the possible money lost from cancelled contracts and possible jail time, you can see how seriously your company could be damaged for failing to completely examine the I-9 for every employee hired.

Employers that have questions about the I-9 Form and all related topics can contact the customer service area at 888-464-4218 or email them at I-9Central@dhs.gov. 

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals: Be Human... Be a Resource... Be a Resource for Humans.


Useful Links
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_Reform_and_Control_Act_of_1986


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Immigration and HR

Companies are required to follow the law.  Sometimes the question comes up about which law - city, state, federal - should you be following as a Human Resources professional.  In a perfect world, the answer would be all three, all the time, every time.  However, with the tricky subject of immigration, there are sometimes contradictory laws and enforcement in place.  Let’s talk about that for a moment.  As always, please feel free to leave a respectful comment or opinion about your own experiences in the area below this post.

Immigration and HR

Immigrant workers can be a wonderful addition to your workforce.  They may bring with them ideas and skills that are difficult to find in domestic employees in your local area.  However, workers that did not immigrate legally present a challenge.

Within the United States, Federal Law makes it illegal to employ Undocumented Workers.  However, there are 31 cities where local ordinances have created Sanctuary Cities; locations where police and local authorities are compelled to not enforce these Federal Laws.  As a result, many of these workers are employed and HR professionals should know how to deal with them.

First off, I would suggest speaking to your local SHRM, checking with your lawyer, and consulting your ordinances.  Laws and enforcement will vary from location to location.  This may be a case where you might be best following the local laws first.  If there are physical conflicts that arise, you may need the aid of local police.  If the conflict arises from your attempt to follow National Law in the hiring process, but local ordinance prohibits enforcement, you could have an HR nightmare on your hands.

Oftentimes, Sanctuary Cities will offer a Municipal ID Card or other form of identification card.  This card may be used to identify and assist the HR rep with tracking the employee.  If non-enforcement of national immigration laws is the norm in your area, you would want to treat the Undocumented Worker the same as every other employee to the greatest extent possible.  They should have tax withheld the same, benefits applied the same, and be treated in a non-discriminatory manner.  Hiring for employment should continue to be without regard to race, color, religion, sex or national origin. 

Do not, under any circumstance, ever try to exploit the undocumented workers.  Beyond the unethical and immoral ramifications of using a person’s undocumented status against them, it can also put you in jail.  A recent story in the news talked about how 7-11 had undocumented workers that they were effectively using as slaves.  Now those employers have had their franchises taken away from them and may face prison time.

There may be immigration reform on the horizon which may or may not affect the HR professional.  A change in immigration laws may not be enforced locally.  This will continue to be a tricky subject for Human Resources departments in the foreseeable future.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals: Be Human... Be a Resource... Be a Resource for Humans.



Useful Links:



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Labor Unions and Social Media

I just came across this fabulous free Online Webinar given by Jessica Miller-Merrell and Jon Hyman of Blogging4Jobs about the nature of union tactics, the current activism within the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and the use social media for organizing.  It is really interesting how aggressively unions are targeting workers at companies such as Sodexo, Walmart, and Apple to recruit people to join as members.  Human Resources need to be aware that this activity is going on.  It is not just union members handing out leaflets or marching around with a giant rat in front of your workplace.  As companies are getting smarter about targeting their ads to individual customers, unions are also getting smarter about targeting their messages to specific employees at specific companies.  They recommend preparing a rapid response team to be able to conduct an investigation quickly if a union situation erupts at your workplace and you need to protect your company’s reputation.  I highly suggest checking out this Webinar:  http://www.blogging4jobs.com/webinars/unions-nlrb-social-media-webinar/  It is really great; lots of useful information.


And remember all of you Human Resources professionals: Be Human... Be a Resource... Be a Resource for Humans.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

View Trevor Stasik's profile on LinkedIn