Not a Member? Get access to HR news and resources that you can trust.
Change can be scary, but deploying new HR software doesn't have to be.
Is your employee handbook ready for the New Year? With SHRM’s Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Get the HR education you need without travel expenses or time out of the office.
We don’t just visit a city, we take it over. Join the HR community in NOLA -- June 18-21, 2017.
Employers are obligated to complete and maintain I-9 employment eligibility verification forms for every worker, even if the organization is using E-Verify to validate work authorization.
“E-Verify is not a replacement for the Form I-9 but rather an added layer of protection, deterring document and identity theft to a certain extent,” said Dawn Lurie, a shareholder in the Washington, D.C., office of Polsinelli and a nationally recognized expert on Form I-9 and E-Verify compliance. “In a fairly inefficient manner, employers must first complete the I-9, either on paper or electronically, and then, if enrolled in E-Verify, push or key in the information to the government’s Internet-based system.”
Golden Employment Group in Minneapolis found this out the hard way after being ordered to pay $209,600 in civil penalties for hundreds of Form I-9 violations.
The staffing company argued before the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review that complete I-9 forms were not necessary in some cases, because it had verified those employees’ employment eligibility through E-Verify.
Golden Employment began using E-Verify in 2008. In some instances, the company had failed to complete certain sections of the Form I-9 when an employee’s eligibility for employment was confirmed by E-Verify.
As the result of an April 2013 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audit, Judge Ellen K. Thomas found that Golden Employment committed 465 I-9 violations, of which 236 were for not preparing I-9 forms and 89 were for failing to properly complete I-9 forms. Thomas found an additional 140 violations for failing to timely present I-9 forms. She stated that using the E-Verify program does not insulate an employer from the necessity of proper I-9 completion.
“Form I-9s are mandatory in the context of federal law while E-Verify is voluntary for most businesses, outside of federal contracts and businesses subject to certain state or county regulations,” Lurie said. “In fact, a company cannot use E-Verify without first completing the Form I-9 correctly. Information entered into the E-Verify system must come from the form itself, not the identity documents or from the employee directly.”
The E-Verify Memorandum of Understanding, which employers must sign as a condition of participation in the program, states that enrolling in E-Verify does not exempt an employer from the requirements to complete, retain and produce I-9 forms for its employees.
“Think of E-Verify as an add-on to the Form I-9, an insurance product of sorts,” Lurie said. But employers shouldn’t consider it a safe harbor from worksite enforcement, she added.
“If you misuse the system, or if certain problematic patterns are noticed by ICE, you may find your company visited by auditors. I routinely advise employers not to enroll in E-Verify until we are confident that their Form I-9 processes and procedures are tight, that their staff is appropriately trained and they have conducted an internal audit under the supervision of outside counsel.”
Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
Follow him @SHRMRoy
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Your session has expired. Please log in again before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 3,200 companies