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.