Can your employer tell you how to complete your I-9?

On Behalf of | Feb 3, 2022 | employee rights |

If you are about to start a new job, you should prepare yourself to go through the employment eligibility verification process. After all, virtually all employers in the U.S. have a legal duty to require their new workers to complete I-9 forms. Fortunately, the I-9 is simple and straightforward.

When preparing your I-9, you must provide some biographical information about yourself, including what gives you the legal authority to work in the U.S. Then, pursuant to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, you must show your employer a document or combination of documents to confirm your identity and work eligibility.

You can pick the documents you want to show

Your I-9 should come with a List of Acceptable Documents. If your employer fails to give you this list, you should ask for it.

Remember, provided you pick either one document from List A or one document from List B plus one document from List C, your employer must accept your documentation. That is, your employer may not ask you for specific documents or additional ones.

Your employer may need different documents for other reasons

While you have the right to choose the documents you want to present for I-9 purposes, your employer may ask you for certain documents for other reasons. For example, it is not uncommon for employers to request social security cards for payroll processing.

Likewise, if your employer participates in the mostly voluntary E-Verify program, you may eventually need to present supplemental proof of your identity or work eligibility. Your employer should make the distinction clear to you, though.

Ultimately, if you believe your employer is using the I-9 process to discriminate against you, you may be the victim of unfair immigration-related employment practice.