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The Importance of I-9

The following is a special guest post from an HR Expert at G&A Partners.


Can you imagine being fined almost $800 because your employee forgot to sign a piece of paper? Multiply that one mistake by thousands of employees and the result is a huge headache for business owners who fail to pay attention to I-9 forms.



The purpose of the I-9 is to help employers verify the identity and employment authorization of each person they hire. Every new employee hired after November 6, 1986 is required to have an I-9 form. Not having a properly completed I-9 form can result in fines of $110 to $1100 per I-9.  Over the past few years the number of I-9 audits has increased dramatically, so it’s important to make sure I-9’s are being completed accurately and on time for every new employee.

Recently, Ketchikan Drywall Services (KDS), a drywall and framing company in Washington state, was fined $173,250 for 225 separate I-9 violations; That’s an average fine of $770 per I-9 form. Many of the violations were a result of simple mistakes, such as failing to check a status box, checking more than one status box, checking the wrong status box, failing to sign the I-9, not listing all required information for List A, B, or C, accepting improper documentation, and a failure to complete Section 3 of the I-9 when necessary. This just goes to show that even clerical errors can add up to huge fines and cost a company a lot of money.

So what can you do? Take a few minutes after completing an I-9 and look it over. The few minutes you will spend reviewing the I-9 could potentially save you thousands of dollars in the future. These are some of the most common mistakes we see:

  • The employee not checking a status box or checking more than one status box
  • The employee not signing or dating the I-9
  • Not completing List A, B or C correctly or not completing at all
  • Not filling in the employee’s hire date in the Certification section
  • Not completing the Business/Organization name and address section completely

Not sure if your I-9’s are compliant or think you need I-9 training? Then call your HR advisor.





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