On May 30, 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel ("OSC") issued a technical assistance letter addressing questions by an employer that asked whether Form I-9 information could be shared with third-party vendors. In its letter, the OSC noted that the regulations governing the Form I-9 process precluded release of information for any other purpose, and, thus, employers could not share Form I-9 information with any third-party vendor, such as a payroll service or benefit provider, without the employee’s written permission.

This letter serves as another warning to employers that may routinely share this information without considering the consequences. Employers faced with vendor requests for this information should consult with counsel to avoid the consequences from an unauthorized release and determine if there are alternatives to satisfying vendor requests that do not involve Form I-9 information.