Employee Documentation Laws

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What is Employee Documentation?

Employee documentation is the process by which employers verify certain information about an employee that they hire.  Verification is usually accomplished by requiring the employee or recruit to provide official documents regarding their identity, citizenship, etc.

Violations of employee documentation standards can lead to serious consequences, both for the employee and employer.  Both federal and state laws cover employee documentation.  Recently, in light of national security concerns, these laws have become more strict and have led to heavier legal penalties.

Although employee documentation is largely associated with immigration concerns, it also involves many other legal issues such as taxation and employment of a minor. 

What types of Documents must an Employee provide their Employer?

The most important document that an employee must submit is Form I-9, which is a federal form that all newly-hired workers must complete.  Form I-9 is used to verify the employee’s identity as well as their legal working status.  It also provides other information, such as the person’s residence and/or mailing address. 

Form I-9 is often used in conjunction with the E-Verify system.  E-Verify is a government program that uses the internet to automatically compare the information provided in a Form I-9 with other government records.  E-Verify is mandatory for some employers, depending on the region and type of employment involved.

Other documents that an employee must provide include:

What are the Legal Penalties for Violating Employee Documentation Requirements?

Violations of employee documentation requirements are serious and may result in a number of legal penalties.  Both employers and employees may be subject to civil and/or criminal penalties, including fines, loss of employment, and possible incarceration.

Also, some employers are required by Federal laws to participate in the E-Verify system.  Failure to comply with E-Verify requirements can result in further disciplinary actions.  Some jurisdictions may revoke the employer’s business operating license in the event of a violation. 

Employment documentation is closely connected with immigration requirements.  When an employee who is not a U.S. citizen fails to meet employment documentation requirements, it could affect their immigration status. 

For example, the offender may lose their permanent resident status and could even be deported.  This is because many immigration databases are tied directly to employment databases, as in the E-Verify system.  Also, an employer may be subject to further penalties for hiring an illegal immigrant.  

Do I need to Contact a Lawyer for Employee Documentation issues?

Employee documentation is important both for the employer and the employee.  It is to your benefit to contact an employment lawyer if you have any questions regarding federal requirements, or the specific employment laws of your state.  Your attorney will be able to explain exactly which types of documents that employees must submit.  Also, in the event of any legal claims or disputes, a lawyer can represent you in court if necessary. 

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Last Modified: 07-03-2013 11:27 AM PDT

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