An Employer Can be Sued by the Dept. of Justice for Its Electronic I-9 Provider’s Flaws


[authors: Jennifer G. Parser, David L. Woodard]

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its latest suit against a large multistate Indiana-based egg producer for unfair employment practices in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act’s anti-discrimination provisions. This employer contracted with a vendor to use its electronic I-9 program.  As part of its employment verification process, this I-9 program prompted non-US citizen employees to produce additional or specific documents in violation of the Form I-9 instructions.  To remind, it must be the employee who selects which documentation listed on the reverse side of the Form I-9 to present to the employer to prove identity and employment authorization. The illegal request by the I-9 program caused the contracting employer to engage unwittingly in unfair immigration-related employment practices.

When selecting an outside electronic I-9 program vendor, please ensure it complies with relevant immigration and antidiscrimination law by seeking experienced immigration and employment legal counsel. Also, be sure that the contract with such an I-9 program vendor provides indemnification and covers attorneys’ fees and expenses as the result of a DOJ inquiry, and any subsequent employee or DOJ discrimination lawsuits.


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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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