“Ask Your Attorney” Column

Whether You Must Verify Employment Eligibility?

Dear Counselor: My husband and I operate a business which has done well, and we are now ready to hire our first two employees. We wondered whether we have to verify the citizenship or legal right to work of these new employees. How do we do that?

Dear Client: Yes, you must ask your new employees to present certain original documents to establish their eligibility for employment. The Immigration and Nationality Act requires employers to review these documents, such as a passport, driver’s license or State ID card, voter’s registration card, social security card, US Military card, or an original or certified copy of birth certificate. Just like most things involving the government, there is a form to be used. It is the “Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification” form, which can be obtained pretty easily by downloading it from the internet. You not only must fill out the form, but also must retain it just in case the government wants to inspect it. There is no filing fee for competing it, but if you ignore these requirements, you can be fined or otherwise penalized. When in doubt, call us, and we’ll guide you through the process.

John L. Maier, Jr.