By Michael G. Charapp
Charapp & Weiss LLP
Audits of Form I-9 compliance have increased over 500% over the last four years. Why? Is there a hotter political issue over the last three presidential administrations than border security? And what role do businesses have in that? Compliance with Form I-9 procedures to be sure that workers properly identify themselves and are authorized to be employed.
It is a common misconception that the audits are done only by the Department of Homeland Security of which the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is a part. USCIS is responsible for the majority of Form I-9 audits, but the Department of Labor may also inspect compliance, and the Department of Justice through its Immigrant and Employee Rights Section may also do inspections if it suspects that employers are not respecting the rights of workers to choose the identity and work authorization documents they choose to show.
How do you protect your business from adverse audit results?
- Have someone in charge who understands the stakes of a bad governmental audit.
- Make sure you are following the correct processes for completion of Forms I-9. Please see the checklist here.
- Workers must be given the choice of the documents they will show to confirm identity and authorization to work. Demanding specific documents can be the basis for a government enforcement action.
- Maintain Forms I-9 for the required period for separated workers: one year after termination and three years after hire, whichever is longer.
- Spot check periodically to be sure you have a Form I-9 for every worker. If not, follow up and have missing forms completed. Keep a note with each form completed after the required date to explain when and why the form was created.
- Spot check new forms periodically. If there are errors, have a procedure to correct them. Be sure the corrections are evident to avoid claims of wrongdoing.
It is no secret that finding employees to work in your dealership is difficult. Worker shortage is a national problem affecting many industries. So what should you do?
- Make recruiting a company priority. Involve everyone. Be candid about the goal of increasing your work force. Your employees are your best resource. For example, no one knows folks who turn wrenches like your service technicians. Have incentives for hiring successes.
- Managers are always recruiting. One will find it difficult to be a manager without people to manage. Finding good employees is one of a manager’s important job functions. A good manager is always recruiting. Have a good experience in a restaurant? How about a friendly receptionist at the dentist’s office? Is the person interested in a better opportunity? Hand out your card. Some managers will even carry a brochure describing the opportunity.
- Have a suspect list. A manager should keep a list of those encountered who might be interested in a better opportunity. If a spot opens, that suspect can be turned into an employment prospect.
It seems like every issue we are reporting on an extension of the deadline for EEO-1 reports for 2019 and 2020. Because of the pandemic, the EEOC has extended the deadline multiple times. The newest deadline to submit and certify 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 Reports has again been extended to Monday, October 25, 2021. The government says this is the final deadline.