Avoid Discrimination with e-Verify | DCR Workforce Blog

Avoid Discrimination with e-Verify

In a move calculated to counteract the effects of the housing bubble that burst and to pump cash into the economy, a bipartisan bill to provide green cards and work permits to foreigners who spend at least $500,000 to buy a house in the USA in addition to an earlier invitation to invest an equal amount in new businesses and create jobs. People who wish to work in the USA need to face IRCA verification which involves a document verification process to verify their identities and well as the legal authorization to take up employment in the USA.

The I-9 form & other Regulations:

The purpose of I-9, or the Employment Eligibility Verification Form, is the establishment of the employee’s identity and legal authorization to work in the USA for which various documents like the candidate’s passport, resident card or employment authorization document, social security card, driver’s license, school records, native American tribal document, Citizen Id card (I-197) serve a purpose. While the I-9 is not necessary for volunteers or contractors, a company faces liability for outsourcing any work to contractors who use unauthorized workers.

The document is required to be translated for those employees who cannot read or write who may complete the form and sign it along with the employer attesting to the veracity of its contents. I-9 can also be submitted online. For all the existing employees, an employer will have to retain and update the Form I-9, for 3 years after the employee comes on board and 1 year after the employee leaves his job.

Provisions for Anti-discrimination:

As the I-9 is usually meant for immigrant workers, there are some restrictions laid down to eliminate possible discrimination against immigrant workers. It is important for employers of three or more workers to be aware of for hiring as well as termination decisions, to avoid possible exposure for discrimination:

  • No employee shall face differentiation based on being a US citizen or not or what is termed citizenship status discrimination, unless they fail to apply for naturalization within six months of gaining the eligibility to do so.
  • Similarly, Employers shall not treat individuals differently because of their place of birth, country of origin, ancestry, native language, accent, foreign-looking appearance. All U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and work authorized individuals are protected from such discrimination.
  • An employer shall not employ unfair documentary practices like seeking more documents, rejecting documents though they look genuine, insisting on particular documents, and shall accept any of the valid document combinations suggested by the I-9 form, provided they look genuine.
  • It is safer to seek the I-9 after the hiring decision has been taken, so as to avoid possible charges of discrimination.
  • Ask all employees for I-9 compliance, employing a uniform manner and process.

The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) helps to enforce the provision through investigations which, if proved may provide job restoration, back pay or other relief to victims and imprisonment, fines etc for violators . OSC educates workers on these provisions through nationwide information dissemination campaigns. The OSC enforces the National origin discrimination with respect to hiring, firing, and recruitment or referral for a fee, by employers with more than three and fewer than 15 employees, while the EEOC holds jurisdiction over employers with 15 or more employees. Anyone seeking such an investigation against the employer is protected from retaliation.

In the ultimate analysis the I-9 is an important aspect of regulatory compliance for all those who hire 3 employees or more, as non-adherence will prove equally as expensive as faulty adherence.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.