The Fear Factor Hits HR

Why, oh why, am I always right?

Like some latter day Nosferatu infused with the wisdom of the immigration elders, I’ve been calling this whole "Attack on U.S. Employers" deal for about four years…and once again my voice calling in the regulatory wilderness proves prophetic.

The call came yesterday: an old friend/client whom I’d transitioned to U.S. permanent residency several years back was in a panic.  It seems an audit letter requesting an I-9 review of his employer, a substantial South Florida enterprise with several hundred workers, had landed on the boss’s desk a few weeks ago and the boss bellowed for the usual suspect: the Director of Human resources…my friend’s new position.

"What do we do, Jose?  I’ve looked through the files and it’s a mess!   It was all before I was in the job and most of the I-9s are incomplete or don’t have copies of the proof of work.  I already have called in about 50 Latin employees to update their files and bring in their proof of permission to work. You have to help me!"

Here we go again, I thought to myself.  After explaining the concept of "Privacy Act" and advising him to revisit his approach as far as correcting the problematic I-9s, I gave him a few suggestions as to how to assemble the documentation for the site visit…which is tomorrow.  I could hear the gnashing of his teeth as I said goodbye.

They’re in big trouble.

Experiencing a bit of a deja vu, I dug deep into my archives and tracked down an email I’d sent my friend’s boss about two years ago, advising them that given their industry sector (can’t say) and profile, it was essential to conduct an internal I-9 audit to remedy any issues since the company was a prime target for workforce audit.  I read the email history and saw it was my second such email to the company’s owner, and that he had responded to neither.

No prophet is welcome in his hometown.  Perhaps those of you reading will heed the Book of Workforce Compliance Revelations and get thee to I-9 Advantage before the fire and brimstone hits your HR team.