Spring Clean Before You Get Audited!
For whatever reason, this past year I have seen a marked increase in clients getting audited by various agencies such as the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (I-9s). Unfortunately for those employers audited, once the agency comes knocking, they are pretty much stuck in damage control with very little time to respond (especially with unannounced “visits”). Accordingly, as you are thinking about spring cleaning at home, keep your business in mind as well. This post is one of several spring cleaning tips that I will be posting this spring. The first topic is I-9s. It is so easy to get a technical violation as it must be perfectly filled out. Hopefully you can learn from other employer’s mistakes…
- Have all your I-9s in one binder or file as you will have very little time to produce them (consider filing by employee date of hire).
- The new version (dated 11/14/2016) must now be used exclusively.
- Section 1 must be completed by the employee on the first day of employment (not the third day).
- The rest of the Form I-9 must be completed by the employer by the employee’s third day.
- If you use E-Verify, it will alert you when a document is going to expire. If you do not use E-Verify, be sure to calendar the due date for re-verification of expired documents; also be sure this is done in a manner so that the due date is not tied to an individual’s calendar (they may not be employed in two or three years when it expires and then you have a violation).
- Do not be sloppy or abbreviate. The entire corporate name and address must be completed (if not, it is a technical violation).
- Verify the employee has filled in the correct information. For example, if an employee puts the current date where it says “Date of Birth”, it will be your technical violation.
- On the top of page 2, be sure the Employee’s information from Section 1 is completed.
- If you find errors, correct them now, but be careful how you make the corrections. For example, an employer cannot change an employee’s answer, but can make a notation in the margin with your initials.
- If you get audited and you get a Notice of Suspect Documents, you will have a very limited time to verify an employee’s employment eligibility; use caution with this process and the continued employment of such individuals (some may be correctable document errors and some may not be authorized to work).
If you want much more information, you can access the Employer Handbook for I-9s here. However, the most important thing is to fill it out completely and accurately, and to correct errors properly when discovered.