Startup HR: How to Audit Your I-9 Forms

Startup HR: How to Audit Your I-9 Forms

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Startup HR: How to Audit Your I-9 FormsStartup HR: How to Audit Your I-9 Forms – If you do not have an I-9 for every employee in your company, you can fix this easily with a little administration.  Because it is such an easy fix, you should make this task your first priority.  As you will see, auditing and correcting I-9 Forms is all about transparency and precise information.  During your Audit, pay special attention to Date of Hire and the Version of the Form. 

Note that USCIS instructs employers to continue using the I-9 Form Version with the 3/31/16 expiration date until further notice. When a new form is released, we will update it here on GWHR and email the update to our subscribers. Here is the USCIS I-9 Forms from GWHR Forms Library

Who Corrects What?

Employee Corrections: Anything that needs to be corrected in Section 1 must be corrected by the employee.   If an employee no longer works for the company, but the document is still in retention, the administrator must attach a note explaining the audit and reason for the mistakes on the I-9.

Employer Corrections: Anything that needs to be corrected in Sections 2 and 3 must be corrected by the employer/administrator.

How To Properly Fill Out An I-9

How to Correct Mistakes

Conducting Internal Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 Audits

1) Transparency: Never ever erase information or use white out or correction fluid on an I-9 Form.  If a previous administrator used white out, attach a note stating what happened. Never conceal any changes made to the form.  Always make notes on any changes to the I-9 Forms.

2) English or Spanish Version:  “The Spanish version of Form I-9 may be filled out by employers and employees in Puerto Rico ONLY. Spanish-speaking employers and employees in the 50 states and other U.S. territories may print this for their reference, but may only complete the form in English to meet employment eligibility verification requirements.” USCIS

3) Format to use: The best way to correct the I-9 Form is to:

Draw a line through the incorrect information

Enter the correct information

Initial and Date the Correction

4) Multiple Errors: To correct multiple errors, you may redo the section on another form and attach it to the old form. Note the reason for adding new sections to the old form.

5) Major Errors: For major errors (like Section 2 having unacceptable documents), you can complete a whole new form. Note the reason for creating a new I-9

6) Wrong Version: If the wrong version of the form was used but the documentation was acceptable, you may attach a blank correct version of the form to the old form.  The only part that needs to be completed on the new form is the employer or administrator signature. Also note why the current blank version is attached (e.g. wrong edition was used at time of hire)

7) Missing Form: If an I-9 was never completed or is missing, the current version should be completed as soon as possible.  You should not back date!  In the certification portion (section 2), the administrator should clearly state the hire date.   The administrator should attach a signed and dated explanation of the corrective action taken.  For Section 1: The employee must use the current date.  The employee must also provide current documentation for the administrator to enter into Section 2.

7 Steps to a Great Hiring Process

8) Insufficient Documentation: If the documentation was not sufficient (examples: no documentation, expired date during time of hire, unacceptable form of ID), the employee will have to provide documentation to complete the current version of the form I-9. Do not backdate the new form.  Attach the new form to the old form with a note explaining the corrective action.  NOTE: Do not tell the employee what documents to provide. Point them to page 9 of the form for a list of acceptable documents.

9) If you use E-verify:

*If your company just started using E-verify, do not go back and E-verify previous employees. Only use E-Verify for new hires starting today.  The only exception to this is if your company is a federal contractor.  

*If your company has been using E-Verify and the administrator inadvertently failed to create a case; the administrator should immediately create a case in E-verify. You can consult with USCIS for further information.

*If your company uses E-Verify and fired an employee based on the receipt of the Tentative Non-Confirmation (TNC); should consider taking corrective action, such as extending an offer of re-employment to the affected employee.  If corrective action is not possible, document why the employer was unable to take corrective action.  E-Verify requires employers to give employees an opportunity to contest their TNC and allow them to continue work while contesting.  There are also discrimination issues that come into play here, so be very careful in these situations.

10) Finds out Employee is not Authorized to Work.

*If your company finds out that an employee is not authorized to work, the company has to release the employee because it is unlawful to employ someone who is not authorized to work in the US.

*If an employee admits that they were not authorized to work, but now is authorized to work, the company is not required to terminate the employee.  The employee will just have to complete a new I-9 with current documentation.  Attach the old I-9 to the current I-9 with notes.

*Be careful of tips that employees are not authorized to work in the US.  This can be tricky because your company is stuck between possible discrimination and possible hiring of an unauthorized worker.  Consider the source of the tip and consult your attorney.

Startup HR: How to Audit Your I-9 Forms – So many mistakes can be corrected through self-auditing.  If you are a Startup, HR Professional, Company Owner: Learning how to audit I-9 Forms can go a long way in protecting the company from legal trouble and penalties.   With this simple fix, your company will be much better off!  For more information on I-9, check out How to Properly Complete I-9 Forms and 5 Steps to New Hire I-9 Forms


More Articles:   Compliance Articles        StartUp Articles        General HR Articles


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