Effective October 1, 2014, employers with operations in Colorado must use a new version of the Affirmation of Legal Work Status form — the old version of the form should not be used after this date. Employers should also use this change as an opportunity to audit their records to ensure that their historical records are compliant with this Colorado law. Failure to be in compliance will likely lead to fines in the event of an audit by state authorities.
By way of background, the State of Colorado requires employers in the state to, within 20 days of hiring a new employee, affirm that the employer (or its designated representative):
- Has examined the legal work status of the new employee;
- Has retained file copies of the I-9 documents provided by the new employee;
- Has not altered or falsified the new employee’s identification documents; and
- Has not knowingly hired an unauthorized alien.
All employers in Colorado must maintain a written or electronic copy of the affirmation for the term of employment for each employee. This affirmation requirement is separate from and in addition to the federal I-9 employment verification requirements.
All employers that hire employees in Colorado between October 1, 2014 and October 1, 2017 must use the new version of the form. Employers cannot use the new version of the form for any Colorado-based employees hired prior to September 1, 2014. Employers may use either the old or new version of the from between September 1, 2014 and September 30, 2014. From a best business practice perspective, it is recommended that employers implement usage of the new form immediately.
The state of Colorado conducts random audits of employers to confirm compliance with the employment verification law. Employers have been receiving audit notices via facsimile and mail, so employers should ensure that appropriate escalation steps are in place to receive such notices at their Colorado facilities. Employers that do not comply can be subjected to fines of $150 to $500 per new hire, depending on the nature of the violation and the size of the employer.