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Employers: Know these dos and don'ts of I-9 forms

If you are an employer in Florida, you need to know about your obligations when it comes to I-9 forms. These forms must be filled out and kept on file for every person hired to perform work in exchange for compensation, food, lodging or other remunerations. While there are exceptions, most employers are expected to have completed forms for the appropriate employees.

These forms show that a worker is authorized to work in the U.S. On them, workers must note if they are citizens, non-citizens, lawful permanent residents or immigrants authorized to work in the U.S. for a specific period of time. Employers have responsibilities, too. Failure to comply with the federal laws that govern this process can lead to audits and costly consequences for employers.

There are several dos and don'ts that employers must understand in order to avoid the penalties of non-compliance. Below are a few of the basic steps that should and should not be done to stay in compliance. 

Do:

  • Have the employee fill out Section 1 of the I-9 form
  • Complete Section 2 of the form within three days of the employee's first day
  • Re-verify authorization when and if an employee's employment authorization document expires (except for U.S. citizens and non-citizen nationals)

Do not:

  • Discard I-9 forms until the employee has no longer worked for the employer for one year or until the person has been employed for three years, whichever is later
  • Falsify or permit falsification of information on any I-9 form
  • Reject genuine documentation or request additional information like green cards to establish employment authorization

Staying in compliance with these and the many other rules of the I-9 forms can help employers avoid serious legal complications in the future.

If you have concerns about I-9 compliance or questions about your obligations as an employer in Miami, it can be crucial that you consult an attorney experienced in immigration and employment laws in Florida.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Handbook for Employers: Guidance for Completing Form I-9," accessed on Dec. 14, 2015

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