I-9 Self Audits

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Recent ICE activity has demonstrated the importance of properly completing Form I-9 and the consequences that result from not doing so.  One of the best ways for a company to feel confident upon receipt of an audit notice from DHS, DOL, or DOJ is to develop a habit of routine internal or self audits.

Follow these key guidelines to a successful audit outcome:

1) Review all I-9 forms or a representative sample selected on non-discriminatory grounds to determine I-9 opportunities and correction areas.

2) Communicate with employees regarding the audit to ensure a culture of open communication.

3) Remember the I-9 correction rules.  Section 1 should only be altered by the employee and/or a preparer or translator if needed.  Corrections should be clearly identified and marked on the I-9 form following a consistent method. If the employee no longer works for the company a signed and dated note identifying the errors should be attached to the Form I-9 containing an explanation.

4) Corrections in Sections 2 and 3 should only be made by the employer.  Never erase, cover up, or backdate information.

5) Prioritize I-9 forms that have never been completed and/or those with substantive errors.  Know the difference between substantive and technical errors.  Attach a signed and dated note of explanation.

Due diligence and routine I-9 self audits should prepare a company well in the event ICE come knocking.

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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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