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Weekend Roundup: Businesses May Not Ask New Hires for Green Cards

A recent lawsuit against a Miami-based pizzeria franchise is a reminder to business from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that employers can be penalized for asking for specific work authorization or identity documents from newly hired employees.


The employer was asking for specific documents during the employment verification process, according to the DOJ. The company settled the claims in order to resolve an investigation of allegations that managers asked foreign-born legal residents to produce green cards as proof of employment eligibility. The company resolved the matter by paying a civil penalty of $140,000, but it will also be subject to regulatory monitoring and reporting requirements.


All new hires, including those who are foreign-born, may choose any validation documentation from lists of acceptable documents in order to prove their work authorization. This is outlined under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).


In most cases, it is new hires who are subject to validation requirements when completing section 2 of the Form I-9. Employers may not tell employees which documents to present, but it’s the company’s responsibility to present a list of qualifying documents to employees and let them select which they will provide.


Routinely asking for permanent resident cards—especially only from foreign-born legal workers—falls under what is referred to as document abuse and is subject to regulations by the DOJ’s Immigrant and Employee Right Section.


Business’ human resources managers should be briefed on proper Form I-9 completion. If you have any questions on the legality of your hiring practices, contact your legal team. At KRESS Employment Screening, we offer streamlined hiring verification and background checks to help you stay compliant with local, state, and federal regulations. Contact us today for a free sample report on one of your applicants.


There’s a new Form I-9 for 2017. Have you updated yours yet? Download it now.


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