Charlotte I-9 Compliance Lawyer

A law firm you can rely on to empower you.

When an employer hires an employee, they must fill out an I-9 form. This form verifies the person’s identity, as well as their authorization to work in the United States. Employers must fill out I-9 forms for all employees — citizens and non-citizens. At the time of employment, employees must provide documentation proving their identity and their right to work in the United States. To ensure that employers comply with those laws, the government may audit them.

The employer retains responsibility for the I-9 compliance process. They must be able to demonstrate that all employees have provided completed I-9 forms along with the necessary documentation. They do not have to have I-9 forms for contractors. However, an employer can be at risk if they knowingly employ contractors that violate the I-9 requirements. A Charlotte I-9 compliance lawyer could help ensure your paperwork is in order. Call our immigration firm today.

Determining Eligibility for Employment

In order to legally hire someone, an employer has a responsibility to ensure that they are eligible for employment in the United States. To do that, the employer must know the rules. Employers who knowingly hire people who are not authorized to work in the United States are committing a crime. Unknowingly hiring someone — for example, someone with fake documentation — is not a crime. All U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens are authorized to work in the U.S. Any other person must have a visa or other work authorization.

Failure to comply with these laws exposes an employer to potential civil and criminal penalties. Potential penalties include civil fines, criminal fines, prison time, and becoming ineligible for government contracts. A Charlotte I-9 attorney could bring you into compliance, helping you avoid penalties.

I-9 Audits

From time to time, the government decides to audit an employer’s I-9 compliance. They will send employers a notice of an audit. If there is any question about compliance, the employer should contact a lawyer for assistance with that audit.

Even employers without notice of an audit should check from time to time to ensure all of their forms and records are in order. Then, they are always ready for an audit and will not have to scramble if they ever get that notice. Whether or not a company is facing an immediate audit, a compliance lawyer in Charlotte could help.

Steps in an Internal Audit

When an employer is planning an internal I-9 audit, the process can seem overwhelming. Breaking it down into steps makes the process more manageable.

The first step is to make sure you have information for every employee. All employees should have a completed I-9 form. If they do not, have them complete an I-9 form as soon as possible. In addition to current employees, you also need to ensure that former employees who were terminated within the last year also completed an I-9 form. If those are missing, you must contact them to get the information.

Gather all of the I-9 forms and put them in a single location for easy access. Your forms may be a combination of digital and physical forms. In that case, you may want to digitize the physical documents and store them online.

Once you have all of the completed I-9 forms, you must review them to ensure that they are both accurate and complete. The forms need to contain the employees’ names, addresses, dates of birth, and Social Security, Alien Registration, or USCIS numbers. The box indicating whether someone is a citizen or immigrant should be checked, and the document should be signed and dated. The date should be on or before the employee’s start date. If a preparer helped the employee complete the form, their information must be on the form, as well. Finally, the employer or authorized representative must sign the form and put their full address on it.

The next step is to correct any errors. Document the correction process. The employers cannot change the employee part of the forms — you must return them to the employees and have them process them. Our Charlotte attorneys could provide more advice on performing internal I-9 audits to ensure compliance with the law.

Consult a Charlotte I-9 Compliance Attorney

If you are worried about the condition of your I-9 forms, a Charlotte I-9 compliance lawyer could help you with an internal audit. They are a great way to get your records in shape and may be necessary if you are merging with another company, selling your company, or facing an audit. Schedule a consultation to learn more.

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