The Jackson Lewis law firm recently reported that the Department of Justice has settled a case that emphasizes the need to review your I-9 process and employment practices in general. The case stemmed from a latino potential employee who applied for a job and was offered the work. During the I-9 process he was requested to provide a green card. The worker is a US citizen and as such, could not provide a green card. The offer for employment was subsequently withdrawn. The case was settled for $10,000 in back wages and fines.
The I-9 process has been a key to several discrimination cases over the past several years. Any industry that hires a large number of migrant workers, particularly a large number of Latino workers is susceptible to this type of discrimination. The I-9 form must be filled out for every new hire. It is very easy to ask for the same documents every time. It makes the process easier but it is not proper and, as evidenced above, can cost your company a bunch of money. The I-9 has three columns of documents and the employee has the right to provide any of the documents listed on the form as proof of identity and work eligibility. The list in column “A” provides both identity and work eligibility and the lists in “B” and “C” provide them separately.
Its important that you, from time to time, review your I-9 procedures and practices. The USCIS has good documentation on do’s and don’t’s as do many law firms that work in this area. If you have questions on your procedures, please give us a call and we can discuss them.