How to Complete Form I-9: A Survivor’s Guide
Monday February 17, 2020
(Workshop 1) 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
(Workshop 2) 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
PHCC Office, 10103 Broadway, San Antonio, Texas 78217
What You Will Learn:
- How to complete the NEW Form I9 correctly to avoid potential fines
- Determine your level of risk for an ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) audit
- Why E-verify WILL NOT protect you from penalties
PHCC and ASA Members: $45.00 per person
Non-members: $75.00 per person
PHCC MEMBERS ONLY:
Online at www.phcc-sanantonio.org
Visit (or copy link) https://www.asklindahr.me/upcomingevents or send an e-mail to email@example.com
Invoices for payment will be sent after registration (online payments accepted with invoice; payment via check is also acceptable on the day of the seminar). Please make checks out to Ask Linda HR Consulting Services
- RSVPs received after February 14, 2020 may not be guaranteed a seat
- Seating is limited (no refunds)
- If you register for the morning workshop but are unable to attend, please call Linda at 210-846-4900 to check seating availability for the afternoon workshop
Linda Drassen, BSM, MM/HRM, SHRM-CP, PHR, OSHA-10 Hour Certified, and a Personal Human Resources Consulting Sherpa at www.asklindahr.me
Who Should Attend?
- Business owners, human resource representatives, accounting representatives, anyone who is responsible for hiring and/or completing new hire paperwork
- If you see that your I9 forms are missing information OR have blank spaces
5 Top Reasons You Should Attend:
- Each form (including your terminated employee forms) can be fined up to $2,292.00 EACH
- E-verify will NOT help you avoid forms
- If fined by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), you may lose your ability to work on federal or state-funded projects for at least a year
- It does NOT matter if your entire staff is legal to work in the United States; you can still be fined on the mistakes made on the forms
- Do you really want to pay the government money for something as silly as a blank “Apartment Number” on your forms?
Effective immediately, the Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) will now require employers to offer employees the opportunity to use intermittent leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to attend Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), public schools are obligated to create Individualized Education Program (IEP) for any child, “who receives special education and related services with input from the child and the child’s parents, teachers, school administrators, and related services personnel.” Additionally, the most recent decision concludes that FMLA applies to any meetings “held pursuant to the IDEA, and any applicable state or local law.” The wording of this Opinion can be interpreted to mean that FMLA protections for employees can include intermittent leave for parent-teacher conferences, individualized course-planning and other specialized education meetings.
Employer obligations under FMLA have expanded under recent court decisions creating serious exposures and confusion.
For example, FMLA protections must be offered to employees from employers who have more than 50 employees (regardless of distance and/or radius between locations). Employees may qualify for FMLA protection if they work at a facility that has more than 50 employees in a 75-mile radius.
However, employers who are UNDER 50 are now required to notify employees of what FMLA protections are available to them; handbook policies are NOT considered ample notification regardless of whether or not employees have signed the employee handbook receipt.
Furthermore, employees are NOT required to ask for FMLA. It is incumbent upon employers to recognize the triggers for FMLA notification and send out appropriate information as listed below:
When an employee has a qualifying leave event (whether standard or intermittent leave), they should always receive (in-person with a signed receipt AND regular mail:
- Notification of rights and responsibilities
- Certification of a Health Care Provider (with a job description)
- Agreement to pay benefits while on leave (if applicable)
- A letter (with signed receipt) describing important dates and milestones (such as the date information is due, use and accrual of paid time off, and that the employee is required to provide a return-to-work notice indicating potential accommodations)
Upon receipt of the information, employers should send a Designation Notice and a letter describing milestones and important dates.
Employees who are denied FMLA because they have not worked for one year (and/or 1,250 hours in the current or preceding year), they do not work for an employer with 50 or more employees OR they do not work at a location that has 50 or more employees in a 75-mile radius, should receive virtually the same information. FMLA will also run CONCURRENT with Workers’ Compensation-related time off.
Remember also that employees who do not qualify for FMLA may still be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and unpaid personal leaves of absence.
Most employers (regardless of number of belly buttons in the census) find FMLA to be very confusing (and infuriating, if I am being honest). Just remember that I am here to help. A good place to start is to make sure your handbook policies cover the following (not an exhaustive list):
- FMLA (should be at least 8 pages long)
- Non-FMLA leave (typically called Unpaid Personal Leave of Absence/pregnancy leave/paternity leave)
- Policies delineating how paid leave should be used during leaves of absence (are employees required to use, can request to use or request not using)
- Return-to-work programs
- Disabilities accommodation policies
- Workers’ Compensation policies
- Attendance policies and requirements under leaves of absence
- Strong privacy (HIPAA) policies that STRICTLY PROHIBIT any communication (electronic or otherwise) about any medical information whatsoever
IMPORTANT: never EVER send FMLA information or paperwork via EMAIL
In addition to other support services, Ask Linda HR Consulting Services offers personalized and realistic Employee Handbook reviews AND FMLA training (and administration) according to your business model and culture.
Although I have tried to highlight the important issues, I am a multi-state human resources/employment law professional and NOT a writer (I am sure you can tell)…so please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or a free onsite consultation.
Linda Drassen, BSM, MM/HRM, PHR, SHRM-CP
President & Your Personal Human Resources Sherpa
Proud member of the ASA
I hope that everyone had a fantastic holiday season and are ready to move forward toward a tremendous 2016!
As you may already know, the Texas Open Carry laws went into effect January 1, 2016. If you are like most employers, you are likely confused about what this means for your employees and your organization. The information below is my attempt at making this new law a little easier for you to understand:
WHAT IS IT?
Effective January 1, 2016, licensed individuals can openly carry firearms on their person in a shoulder or belt holster on most public and private places, with few exceptions. Prior to the implementation of HB 910, Texas law required that license holders carry their firearms in a “concealed” manner.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
This law authorizes individuals with a license to carry a handgun to “openly carry” their handguns in all locations that allow the licensed carrying of a “concealed” handgun.
HOW DOES IT AFFECT EMPLOYERS?
Private employers can still prohibit the carrying of either open or concealed weapons onto their premises by posting notices in compliance with both Texas Penal Code Section 30.06 and 30.07 in English and Spanish. The employer can also choose to allow concealed carrying but prohibit open carrying by posting only the notice in Section 30.07 (in English and Spanish).
Employers must still allow an employee who holds a license to carry a concealed handgun, who otherwise lawfully possesses a firearm, or who lawfully possesses ammunition, to transport or store that firearm or ammunition in a locked, privately owned motor vehicle in a parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area the employer provides for employees.
Further, effective August 1, 2016, licensed individuals may carry concealed handguns into classrooms, dormitories and other buildings at public and private universities. Private universities have the option to opt out of the law, and many have or are expected to do so. Most public universities are researching and developing guidelines on how best to implement the law. The law does not allow open carry on campuses, and students must still be 21 to receive their license to carry.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO?:
Employers will be required to post their Handgun Restriction Posters on ALL entrances of their establishment, including employee entrances.
1) If you wish to ban ALL handguns (concealed and open carry), you will need a set of both 30.06 and 30.07 posted at all entrances of the establishment.
2) If you wish only to ban concealed handguns and not open carry handguns, you only need to post 30.06.
3) If you wish only to ban open carry handguns and not concealed handguns, you only need to post 30.07.
You can purchase these posters from: FederalAndStateLaborLawPosterStore.com or with whomever you purchase your law posters from. I can provide you with a sample for free – just let me know.
Your handbooks should contain a written policy that outlines the mandatory restriction of employees from carrying or possessing firearms while on the job and state that policy violators will be dealt with immediately with appropriate penalties, including termination and possible criminal prosecution.
As always, I am here to help guide you through these confusing policies – 2016 seems to be an active “new policy” year for our government, so if you need a handbook, want to talk about your exempt versus non-exempt labor exposure, or need other HR services, please reach out to me and I will contact you immediately.
Have a GREAT 2016!
The following article is a prime example of why I am an insomniac…!
I wake up at night and worry about every person who states, “we are good on our I-9s..” or, “…we conducted an internal audit and made our corrections so we are good…” This is more than a sales pitch designed to frighten people into spending useless dollars on the thing that may or may not lurk under our proverbial beds. This is real – and it is terrifying the level of reach that ICE has when it comes to businesses.
Know that AskLinda HR Consulting Services has a way to help mitigate the risk your company faces. The solution is much less expensive than any fine potential you may be facing from ICE.
So, my loyal blog readers, if this article causes you to wake up in the middle of the night, make sure you drop me a line or two and see how I can help. Chances are good I will be up, hoping the seriousness of the situation has created an urgency to get third-party help. At least knowing that we are here might let you get back to sleep.
By the way – note that the company below used E-verify and they were NOT a construction company…
Immigration Violations Cost Resort Chain $2.5M – What Is Your Compliance Exposure? by Dawn M. Lurie
September 23, 2014
This case is a stunning example of the importance of immigration related monitoring, compliance and oversight by the C-suite, as well as the exposure and cost to companies that do not prioritize such compliance and dedicate the necessary time, resources and funds.
The Sinclair Services Company owns and operates a number of high-end hotel and resort properties in Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, California, and Idaho under the Grand America Hotels and Resorts label. Through cooperation and lengthy negotiations, the company entered into an agreement with the US Attorney’s Office and ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) forfeiting $1,950,000 to the Department of Homeland Security.
The case reveals interesting facts about the need for company compliance and oversight. It also highlights the lengths some will go to in an effort to keep an existing workforce intact, even one filled with unlawful workers.
- September 2010: HSI issues a Notice of Inspection (NOI) initiating an administrative audit of the company’s Form I-9s. At this time Grand America was an E-Verify participant.
- After completing the audit, ICE issues a Notice of Suspect Documents determining that 133 undocumented individuals were working for Grand America without proper work authorization.
- September 2011: ICE closes out the case by issuing a “Warning Notice” to Grand America, and the hotel chain terminates the individuals in question.
- Subsequent 12 months: ICE discovers employees of Grand America had created three temporary staffing agencies in order to rehire a portion of the population of the employees previously deemed unauthorized. Forty three of the same employees are rehired through these temporary staffing agencies, mostly under different names and/or Social Security numbers using fraudulent identity documents.
- September 2012: Search warrants are executed against Grand America.
- September 2014: Case settles with $1.95 million forfeiture and compliance program instituted.
Exposure and Liability
According to Kumar Kibble, the special agent in charge (SAC) of HSI in Denver, the office which oversees Utah’s ICE investigations, “[a]ll industries, regardless of size, location and type are expected to comply with the law. As this significant settlement demonstrates, there are real consequences for businesses that employ an illegal workforce.”
In exchange for the cooperation of the company, the US Attorney agreed to forgo criminal charges against Grand America or its executives. The company’s cooperation in providing the government with all related evidence obtained through its own internal investigation was likely used by their attorneys to assist in securing the agreement and keeping high level executives and others shielded from personal liability. Not surprisingly, the individuals involved in the scheme have been fired, and it is expected they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and held personally liable.
According to the Department of Justice, the agreement also requires the company to take substantial remedial measures and estimates the cost of implementing such measures at $500,000. Specifically the settlement agreement referenced the company committing to an “extensive review, regarding its hiring procedures and workforce at all of its properties and re-trained all of its hiring managers regarding immigration laws and the company’s immigration policies”. Among the remedial measures are:
- Mandating new immigration policies
- Incorporating immigration law compliance clauses into labor service contracts
- Re-training of human resources employees on Form I-9 procedures
- Agreeing to continue to use the E-Verify employment eligibility verification website
- Hiring immigration and corporate counsel to advise on these issues.
What should employers take away from this?
Employers, take note: the frequency of ICE investigations is expected to increase as FY 2015 begins and immigration reform remains on the back burner in Washington. Alleged compliance failures (including those discovered during routine Form I-9 inspections) will be tracked and acted upon. Tips and leads will continue to be the main manner in which an investigation is initiated, including scenarios involving whistleblowers. Companies who were previously audited are now likely to be re-audited. Interestingly while re-audits have been a standard part of ICE’s protocols, they are utilized with varying frequency by different ICE offices across the country.
Another likely implication of this case will be some sort of internal review at ICE/HSI to ensure auditors and agents apply higher scrutiny where large numbers of unlawful workers are involved, prior to issuing Warning Notices. Companies should not be lulled into a false sense of security when they are successful in challenging ICE/HSI or when they receive a low fine or a Warning as a result of an investigation. Instead, companies should see it as an opportunity to determine the need for a full house clean-up of their immigration program. When compliance is not taken as seriously as it should be, a $2 million dollar payment ends up being the wakeup call.
Key components to any immigration compliance program include:
- Dedicated resources and commitment to promoting a true culture of compliance
- Written hiring and employment eligibility verification policies that ensure consistent recruitment and employment
- Internal compliance and training programs related to verification processes, to include completion of the Form I-9, how to detect fraudulent use of documents in the verification process, and how to use E-Verify as a best practice or where required—either due to state and local mandates or by virtue of the Government contractor Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)
- Internal audits to minimize liability when conducted in conjunction with guidance from experienced counsel