Moving forward, every week I will aspire to post a “Tip of the Week” based on what I see in my practice and which may be helpful to you to avoid the same issue. These will simply be tips of a general nature and not intended as legal advice. This week’s tip relates to the Form I-9, the Employment Eligibility Verification form, which employers must complete whenever they hire a new employee.
These days, the Form I-9 is two-pages long. When conducting Form I-9 self-audits/internal audits for clients I often see this error — the employer does not write the employee’s name along the top of Section 2 on the second page of the Form I-9. This is problematic because ICE (the agency that enforces companies compliance with respect to the requirement to have a Form I-9) believes that without the indivdual’s name on the second page there is no way that second page could be identified with that employee. Leading, on its face, to a situation where an employer may not have a complete Form I-9 to present to ICE. Now, if you only have 5 employees that may not be a problem because reasonable minds could solve the mystery, but what if you have 100s or 1,000s of Forms I-9?
Imagine this scenario — the summer intern just pulled all of your I-9s together in an organized manner and subsequently is walking into the secure location where they are stored, trips, and all the forms go flying up in the air and scatter. What’s worse, the intern is so mortified that they simply pull them all together, place them in the cabinet and return to their college without telling you what happened. Imagine your surprise when you discover this. Out of curiosity, pull some of your Forms I-9 (assuming they are paper I-9s) and check whether the employee’s name is on page 2, along the top of the form.