If you’re hiring a new employee in 2007, you’d better take notice. Any new employee hired after January 1, 2007, creates both background check obligations and document retention requirements for Colorado employers. The new law requires employers to verify and retain documentation of the legal work status of new employees within 20 days after their hire date. C.R.S. 8-22-122. The new law does not apply to employees hired before 2007. Failure to comply could subject an employer to fines of $5,000 for the first offense and $25,000 for subsequent offenses.
Minimum compliance under the law requires an employer to complete an “Affirmation of Legal Work Status” form for each new employee within 20 days of the hire date. The form is available online at www.coworkforce.com/ice/AffirmationOfLegalWorkStatus.pdf. The form affirms, in part, that the employer has retained copies of identification documents submitted by an employee, including an I-9 document.
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment suggests utilizing two free on-line databases to examine the legal work status of an employee:
- Department of Homeland Security: https://www.vis-dhs.com/EmployerRegistration
- Social Security Number Verification: www.socialsecurity.gov/employer/ssnv.htm
Additional guidance for complying with the new law:
- Do Not Examine Legal Work Status Before Hiring – Employers may not use eligibility to work as a precondition to employment. Only verify employee information after making a hiring decision.
- Pay All Wages and Compensation During 20 Days After Hiring – Employers may not withhold payment of earned wages and compensation during the verification process.
- Require Original Documents and Certified Birth Certificates – Employees must provide original identification documents, with the exception that an employee may present a certified copy of a birth certificate.
- Create a Separate File for Verification Documents – I-9 forms, verification documents, and “Affirmation of Legal Work Status” forms should be maintained securely and separately from a personnel file.