Employers: Make Sure Your Agreement with Electronic I-9 Providers Is Adequate For Peace of Mind

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As most employers know, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is increasing its efforts to stop illegal employment. Short-staffed and lacking resources to perform a lengthy stake-out and raid at an employer’s premises, ICE is using a softer, but no less chilling, method. A simple letter from ICE, called a Notice of Inspection, notifies an employer that it has 72 hours to produce its I-9s for ICE’s inspection. As fines are substantial and ICE now has the capability of shipping thousands of I-9s to its new inspection center in Virginia, established to handle large numbers of I-9s, employers are frequently turning to external electronic providers for I-9 storage, usually linked with E-Verify, as a cost-effective and secure alternative to paper I-9s. This may be an excellent solution, particularly in view of pending federal legislation, but there are some considerations to take into account when choosing an electronic I-9 provider, as LexisNexis discovered.

In June 2011, LexisNexis filed a complaint alleging breach of contract against USVerify, an I-9 and E-Verify service provider under a five year reseller agreement, wherein LexisNexis would resell USVerify services to its customers. USVerify agreed to provide LexisNexis with services that would permit an end user to complete an I-9 online, with USVerify providing storage, maintenance and tracking services. The end user could also conduct a right to work verification through E-Verify, and USVerify was to maintain the end user’s historical E-Verify data.

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