By Jennifer Pawlak

So here we are: the end of a year and the end of a decade! Have you started thinking about your plans for 2020? Be they personal or professional, end-of-the-old-year reminiscing and beginning-of-the-new-year planning is upon us. I wanted to give you a quick rundown of some of the I-9-related happenings this year to help you reflect on your year (or decade!) and plan for the future. (I find that I read a lot of lists at the end of the year, so I’m presenting these to you also as a list, partly because it’s the end of the year and my brain is pretty full, but partly because I like the visual organization of it all.) Without further ado, and in no particular order, here you go!

The I-9 form itself expired!

  • So what do you do? You do nothing and keep using the current form until the government issues a new form. I know that feels wrong, but it really is the right answer. As of 12/17/19, the version you should be using the the 7/17/17N, with an expiration date of 08/31/19. USCIS’s website is always your go-to spot to determine which form is currently valid. There is usually an overlap of time during which you can continue using the old form once the new one is released, but be careful you’re not using the old beyond the switch-over date!

DHS has extended TPS (Temporary Protected Status)…

  • …for many countries on the TPS-designated list. Find the proper guidance on how to complete a new I-9 and/or how to update an I-9 for someone whose TPS has been extended here. TPS is an I-9 situation that will trip you up every time unless you’re really staying on top of the regulations and news, so be sure to look up the validity of work authorization in ALL instances.

The DOJ settled a claim against a strawberry farm in Florida for discriminating AGAINST U.S. Workers.

  • Why is this noteworthy? U.S. Workers are protected under the anti-discrimination provision of the INA. Among other things, the INA prohibits discrimination based on citizenship status and national origin in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee; unfair documentary practices; retaliation; and intimidation. It’s also interesting because a lot of the stories we hear about are companies hiring unauthorized workers, but in this case, the company was fined for hiring authorized workers, but to the detriment of U.S. Workers.

Oregon passed a bill about inspection notices.

  • Specifically SB370 requiring employers to post notice in a conspicuous location that an inspection has been requested in order to inform its workforce of (any federal agency’s) said inspection. California law already requires this, and even provides a template for same (n.b. the Oregon Department of Labor has until January 1, 2020 to publish such a template). Other states will likely follow suit eventually.

In August, ICE raided 7 agricultural processing plants in Mississippi…

  • …detaining 680 workers for working without authorization. The raid included one Koch Foods company which has now sued ICE over the raid. Up until this point, the April raid in North Texas was the largest raid ICE had conducted.

In June and July of 2019, ICE served over 3,000 Notices of Inspection (NOIs).

The White House has kicked around the idea of mandatory E-Verify.

  • It still hasn’t happened, but will it? Take a look at my series of posts on the topic.

There’s my wrap up. Did I miss anything noteworthy? Plenty goes under the radar, so I’m sure I did, but I hope these stories will help you think about your I-9 compliance and how it can be improved. Is this the year you conduct a self-audit? Maybe you’re considering switching to an electronic system. Whatever it may be, please reach out with questions; I’m here to help!

Happy holidays and here’s to a great 2020!

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