I-9s and Mergers

By Jennifer Pawlak

And just like that, 2019 is upon us.

I hope that you all were able to celebrate the end of the year however you saw fit.

For many of you, December 31 was a work day, down to the wire at 11:59pm trying to close your last deals of the year. Such is the life of many of my connections: attorneys, consultants, those at private equity companies, and salespeople (others were also working late I’m sure!). But now that you’ve crossed those Ts and dotted those Is, let me throw one more thing at you:

What did you do about the I-9s?

This again? Yes! I-9 review must be part of due diligence. It’s a simple as performing a spot check, or even a full audit, to get a sense of the shape they’re in. The acquiring company has but two options and the same policy must apply across the board:

  1. Continue the employment of the acquired employees aka take the I-9s as they are, warts and all, from the old company. The surviving company assumes all liability for errors or missing forms, as well as reverification requirements.
  2. Treat acquired employees as new hires aka complete new I-9s for all employees.

Check out USCIS’s very short guide for mergers and acquisitions here. It’s short for a reason – you only have two options, so choose wisely!

Call me next time and we can talk through it. Whatever you decide to do, at least make it a decision and not an afterthought.

Happy New Year!

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