I-9 Lawyer – Serving Greater Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland
At Marcouiller PLLC, we understand the critical importance of I-9 compliance for businesses of all sizes. As an I-9 law firm for compliance, we guide organizations through the complexities of I-9 regulations and assist in the development of I-9 compliance programs and provide representation in government audits.
As an I-9 lawyer with three decades of experience, firm-founding attorney Barbara Marcouiller is well-versed in the nuances of I-9 regulations. We provide comprehensive support to businesses in Greater Seattle, Bellevue, and Kirkland, ensuring that organizations remain compliant with all aspects of the I-9 process.
Our I-9 Services Include:
- I-9 Audits and Documentation. Conducting thorough internal audits and reviewing I-9 documentation to identify and rectify potential issues.
- Compliance Strategies. Developing tailored I-9 compliance strategies and training your staff to suit your specific business needs.
- Legal Representation and Advice. Offering expert legal advice on I-9 matters, including representation in the event of government audits.
If you need assistance with an I-9 matter, we invite you to call or email our office to discuss your compliance needs and objectives.
What is an I-9 Form, and What Is It Used for?
An I-9 form, officially known as the Employment Eligibility Verification Form, is a crucial document used in the United States to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment. Every employer is required to complete and maintain a Form I-9 for every employee, even if you know for a fact that they are a U.S. citizen.
Both employers and employees are required to complete their respective sections of the form. The employer’s responsibility includes reviewing the documents provided by the employee, which prove their eligibility to work. These documents must be inspected to ensure they are authentic and pertain to the person presenting them, thereby confirming the individual’s legal eligibility to work in the U.S.
Who Is Required to Comply With I-9 Regulations?
Every organization – even one employee – is required to comply with the I-9 regulations. Similarly, all United States employees must submit legitimate documents to confirm eligibility for work in the U.S.
What Are the Penalties For I-9 Non-Compliance?
Non-compliance with I-9 requirements can lead to significant repercussions for businesses. Penalties for I-9 non-compliance are varied and substantial, with fines ranging from several thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the severity and frequency of violations. In cases in which a business is repeatedly non-compliant or the non-compliance is of a serious nature, punitive fines may be imposed.
If a company is found to be intentionally employing ineligible workers, criminal proceedings may be initiated. This aspect highlights the importance of meticulous adherence to I-9 regulations to avoid legal complications.
In addition to monetary fines and the possibility of criminal charges, non-compliance can lead to additional sanctions. These may include restrictions on eligibility for certain opportunities, such as participating in government contracts, which could significantly impact a company’s operations and reputation.
Do I Really Need an I-9 Compliance Attorney?
Yes! Every employer walks a fine line between I-9 compliance and running afoul of Homeland Security Investigations on the one hand, and being accused of discrimination based on national origin, thereby running afoul of the U.S. Dept. of Justice Immigrant Employee Rights (IER) on the other hand. As such, it is very important for every employer of any type to obtain proper counsel regarding I-9 compliance.
Is I-9 Compliance a Top Government Concern?
The employer sanctions rules were passed by Congress as part of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. For years, the government didn’t really enforce the rules, as it allowed employers time to become educated about compliance. After 9/11, the government focused especially on organizations in fields that may be targets for terrorists such as power plants. Now the government has expanded enforcement of I-9 compliance across the spectrum. Every employer should be careful to maintain itself in full compliance.
Because of the severity of the penalties associated with I-9 non-compliance, it is advisable to secure the representation of an experienced I-9 compliance attorney. This can help avoid potential pitfalls and substantial liability.
Your First Step for I-9 Matters – Conducting an Internal Audit
Your first step is to contact us to talk about your situation. Then, we will discuss with you a manageable scope for an internal audit of your I-9’s if you choose.
If an employer has a smaller number of employees – 100 or fewer, say – a complete internal audit of the records of all employees is perfectly feasible. For employers with hundreds or thousands of employees, a sample internal audit may be more practical. There are specific ways to do such a sample audit without running afoul of discrimination rules. You cannot choose the sample based on those you believe have immigration documents or who you think are not U.S. citizens. The government has instructed that doing so is discrimination. The audit must be done in a neutral way. We are very knowledgeable about the properly authorized methodology to use for internal audits, and we are happy to work with you to conduct a safe legal internal audit.
After working with you on an internal audit, we will advise you of errors found on the I-9’s audited, and conduct training for the people in your specific organization that are handling the I-9’s. After that, regular internal audits will be faster and easier to ensure you remain compliant.
Should you receive a subpoena from the government for your I-9’s, DO NOT WAIT; contact an experienced I-9 attorney right away.
At Marcouiller PLLC, we guide businesses through the intricate process of adhering to I-9 regulations. We are ready to assist you to ensure that your business is compliant, in an effort to safeguard you from potential legal risks and penalties.
Complete the contact form or call or email us to discuss your I-9 needs.
This is general information and does not constitute legal advice; each case must be analyzed independently. Nothing here creates an attorney/client relationship; each potential client must set up an appointment for proper analysis, and written agreement if after a full analysis we both agree in writing that we accept to represent the case and you also agree that you want us to represent your case as detailed specifically in the written contract.
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“Thanks Barbara! Professional, kind, accurate, I feel really grateful and confident about her direction and advice.”