June 10, 2021

Form I-9 Best Practices

In April 2020, when the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced it was discontinuing its practice of issuing Employer Correction Request Notices (e.g., “no match” letters), many employers in key industries such as Agriculture were relieved. However, relief from the administrative burden and perceived risk such notice created quickly gave way to confusion about ongoing verification responsibilities.

Despite the administrative relief afforded by the SSA’s policy change, employers must still comply with all Form I-9 verification protocols and remain vigilant in initiating and following company policies to protect against employing unauthorized workers. Employers who find themselves in a situation where information provided by the worker conflicts with government databases or other information provided by the employee on internal documents (e.g., job application or Form I-9 documents) should consider the following:

  • Confirm with the employee the accuracy of the information provided. (e.g., check for clerical errors, typos, transposed numbers).
  • Absent any clerical errors, follow up with the employee – in writing – to request clarification and that corrected information be provided within a reasonable time.
  • If the information in question involves the SSA, request the employee contact the agency directly to follow up on any discrepancies.

Employers should remain mindful of federal prohibitions against asking employees for specific additional documents if those presented appear authentic and sufficient for verification purposes.