Participation in E-Verify and Online I-9 systems can lull businesses into a false sense of security with regard to how well they are doing with compliance. With the DOJ initiating investigations against businesses simply due to trends in data retrieved from E-Verify, it’s important that business regularly reassess, refine and re-train this process. If your business has Federal contracts, compliance deficiencies could put that revenue at risk. Below are 5 things you need to ask when testing how ready your business is for an audit.
- Have we defined and properly disseminated our policy and procedure? Simply “following the instructions” for the Form I-9 and E-Verify may not be enough. Have you determined how many days a work-authorized individual can continue to work beyond 90 days should a document necessary for the I-9 be delayed? You’ve also got to coordinate with your payroll department on this decision as paying someone who has not yet received a Social Security Number adds extra work for them as well. What if they cannot access their I-94 card online? How do you handle Final Non-Confirmations from E-Verify for employees who you know are work-authorized? How do you ensure reverifications are handled timely? HR professionals know, consistency is key and a policy and procedure can assist in this regard.
- Can I easily identify every individual who completes Section 2 on behalf of my business? When the DOJ comes calling, they will want to interview these individuals to ensure that no one is engaging in discriminatory hiring practices. If you have an untrained individual involved, all sorts of things can happen even before they get to the form – like requesting specific documents from new employees
- Is our training sufficient to ensure compliance? This process is one of 100 your employees have to deal with throughout the year, so your training needs to be accurate and complete and everyone involved with the process needs to be re-trained at least annually, and new employees who will be involved need to be trained before they act on your businesses behalf. This includes employees who may have performed onboarding, I-9 and E-Verify tasks at a former employer. Based on how many employers have deficiencies in this process, you never want to assume they were actually doing it correctly.
- Do you have proper controls in place, such as regular audits and good notification systems to be sure your processes and procedures are compliant and being followed?
- Do you know what your weaknesses are? If you were thinking that your participation in E-Verify and/or an Online I-9 system meant that you’ve got everything covered, unfortunately you are wrong. DOJ investigations are being sparked from data provided in E-Verify by participating employers. Discuss your business’ interview and onboarding processes your with Maggio+Kattar attorney to determine if you might have any risk areas.