OSC Discourages Pre-Populating Section 1 When Using Electronic I-9 Programs

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The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices ("OSC") recently issued an opinion letter discouraging the practice of pre-populating Section 1 of the Form I-9 when utilizing electronic I-9 programs. The OSC is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act including unfair documentary practices during the Form I-9 process. While some electronic I-9 programs offer the option to pre-populate the employee information required in Section 1 of the Form I-9 from information previously obtained from the employee through the job application process, OSC discourages this practice for a variety of anti-discriminatory reasons including the likelihood that inaccurate or outdated information will be entered into Section 1 and then into an E-Verify query resulting in a mismatch. OSC also states that employers who rely on previously gathered information may fail to provide employees with limited English proficiency translation or interpretation assistance to ensure the accuracy of Section 1 and to assist the employee in understanding the documents requested in Section 2.