I-9 Compliance: Don’t Get Burned By An ICE Audit

  • By Mark Ridgeway
  • 01 Aug, 2017
employer i-9 eligibility form

Since 1986, the U.S. has placed upon employers the burden of acting as gate-keepers in the enforcement of the immigration laws.

At the same time, employers must be very careful not to discriminate against authorized employees or candidates for employment based on citizenship or national origin.

The result is a very fine line that employers are required to walk, with steep pitfalls (business disruption, steep fines, negative publicity, discrimination lawsuits, and criminal penalties) awaiting any missteps.

In the last few years, immigration reforms and increased enforcement have been the topics of extensive debate.

While politicians haven’t been able to see eye to eye on every aspect, one proposition which seems to meet little objection is the idea that employers should be subjected to greater scrutiny and enforcement, increasing the burden of their role as front-line evaluators of workforce authorization.

Indeed, the last few years have seen significant increases in workforce audits and raids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") at all levels.

An I-9 audit can be triggered for a number of reasons, including random samples and reporting by disgruntled employees (or ex-employees).

Certain business sectors, for example food production, are especially susceptible to I-9 audits, and "silent raids" by ICE. In the event of an audit, your company will need to establish its I-9 compliance with ICE. Without a proactive approach, such responses are likely to be reactive and defensive. This typically leads to an internal emergency in responding expeditiously, resulting in a harried response, lost productivity, increased attorney’s fees, worker replacement difficulties and possibly fines or criminal charges.

Therefore, while proper I-9 compliance has always been important, it has never been more essential. It is not enough for employers to simply fill out the I-9 form to the best of their ability according to the basic form instructions and throw them in a file. The risks are simply too high to maintain a lackadaisical approach to I-9 compliance. Proper I-9 compliance requires focused and proactive planning.

The good news is, at Courthouse Concepts we have the tools to help employers manage this entire process. Our secure and accurate Form I-9 system will:

• Virtually eliminate technical errors on the Form I-9

• Help ensure that your workforce is legally authorized to work in the United States

• Simplify and improve the efficiency of your Form I-9 employment verification process

Compliance is built in , so you are always up-to-date with current forms.

Reduce your exposure to government audits, financial penalties and negative publicity resulting from non-compliance. Contact us for more information on how we can help!


The CHC Blog

By Mark Ridgeway 10 Nov, 2017
Conducting background screening and having a practical screening program are not the same thing. Whether you are new to screening or want to move from “screening” to “sensible screening,” it is important to understand four fundamentals of employment screening.  
  1. Not all information is available instantly.  Despite online offerings to the contrary, a quality background check will generally take one to three business days to complete and, in some cases, longer. The U.S. Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)  requires a screening company to “follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy.” This means searches must often be conducted at the source, such as a school, courthouse, state licensing bureau or a previous employer.
  2. National criminal databases are not definitive sources.   Commercial (non-governmental) databases are often advertised as “national,” but this is a misnomer. These databases are developed by purchasing criminal records from numerous sources and using techniques like screen scraping and web harvesting to capture records. These massive databases often contain up to a half billion records. They do not contain all criminal records in the U.S., because some sources will not sell a copy of records or allow records to be captured. Additionally, records within the database may be incomplete or not reflect the current record status
  3. The subject of the background check is part of the process.   Per the FCRA , the subject of the background check must know about and authorize the background check before it is requested from the screening company. The subject has the right to a copy of the report and must have an opportunity to dispute inaccurate information in the report before an employment decision is made.
  4. Employment screening is heavily regulated.   Federal, state and even local law govern the preparation and use of background reports when prepared by a third party, like an employment screening company. These laws and regulations are applicable even if the background report contains only public record information, such as criminal records.
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