How Well Do You Follow I-9 Compliance Regulations?

Dental regulatory compliance takes many faces. In the case of I-9 compliance regulations, failure to adhere to the law can lead to severe fines and even jail time. In this post, Classic Practice Resources COO and dental HR professional Dana Salisbury explains the ins and outs of I-9 compliance.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 mandates that United States businesses, no matter the size, must include I-9 Form completion at the time a new employee joins a company. Employees must complete their I-9s no later than their first day of employment.

As such, I-9s should automatically be a part of your new employee packet during onboarding. Make it one of the first activities a new employee does on their first day of work. Never deputize an untrained team member with the task of receiving unverified I-9s. This is a common mistake, and unfortunately some teams depend on new employees to verify their information. Doing so is non-compliant. It is necessary to consider that employee data, like Social Security Numbers and other personal data, remain confidential.

Management must review the completed I-9. When doing this, you must verify that all information is completed and accurate. The new employee must sign at the end of Section 1 of the form, and management must sign the bottom of Section 2.

Once this information is recorded, use E-Verify to submit and verify the data entered onto the I-9 Form. Sometimes information will bounce back when you E-Verify. For example, sometimes married names are not registered with the Social Security Office. Should this happen, you are required to update the information on the form and initial the corrections made by the employee.

All I-9s should need to be scanned into the digital personnel files. As for the originals, they are to be locked and secured — with limited access — and kept in one physical location, separate from the employment record. Because audits can sometimes occur, the office must keep I-9s for employees separated up to three years in the past. It does not matter if they resigned or unwillingly separated. I recommend creating a monthly or quarterly plan to responsibly dispose of old I-9s. Once the employee has been separated from your practice beyond the three-year mark, purge their files.

In cases where a work authorization document is involved, the employer must reverify the employee’s right to work before the expiration date. Re-verification is not required for employees classified as U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or Expired List B documents.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, primarily with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are cracking down on businesses in regards to I-9 filing and compliance. Consequences of neglect include fines and/or even up to six months of jail time if there is found to be a known practice of hiring unauthorized aliens. Just one more reason it pays to be up to speed on all your dental regulatory compliance.

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