Overview: Employers must comply with the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which requires employers to verify the identity of their employees and requires employment eligibility verification of their authorization to work in the US. In order to do so, employers and employees are required to fill out a Form I-9, and it is mandatory that the employee provide documentation to the employer verifying his or her identity and work authorization.
While employers need to be diligent about completing the Form I-9, they should not be so overzealous that they end up penalizing or discriminating against authorized workers. On the other hand, employers that do not comply with the employment eligibility verification provisions of IRCA can be subject to penalties - civil and criminal. Therefore, employers should develop an effective compliance program in order to avoid such penalties and consider enrolling in E-Verify if not already required by state law or by the federal contractor rule.
Trends: One of the biggest changes to the Form I-9 is that it now gives an employer and an employee the option to either complete the Form I-9 on the computer (i.e. smart form) or on paper, or a combination of both. If completing the smart form on the computer, one of the biggest enhancements is that an employer and employee will be able to access embedded instructions in the fields to be completed.
Author: Melissa A. Silver, JD, Legal Editor
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