Mackall, Crounse & Moore, PLC has joined Dewitt Ross & Stevens S.C.

The newly formed DeWitt Mackall Crounse & Moore S.C. will provide clients with enhanced legal services
and efficiencies as well as access to more than 100 attorneys practicing in nearly 30 areas of
law in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Dismiss this message

×

News & Education

Back to Employment Law News Feed

Filter by:

Practicing Social Distancing Without Violating I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Rules

The I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification process requires that employers verify a new hire’s original documents, in person, within three days of hire.  But given the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak and many employers switching their workforce to remote work and telecommuting as much as possible, the in-person document review mandated by the I-9 regulations is obviously a challenge. 

So how can employers practice social distancing and still comply with the I-9 rules? On March 20, 2020, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE/HSI), posted updated guidelines on completing form I-9 during the COVID-19 outbreak.

What is the general I-9 rule?

Whenever an employer has a new hire, the employee must fill out Section 1 of Form I-9 no later than the first day of employment.  The employer must then review the employee’s documents proving identity and employment verification within three days of hire.  The regulations require that the document verification be done in person, in the employee’s physical presence.

What are the I-9 exceptions due to COVID-19?

Employees and employers are still required to fill out Form I-9 by the usual deadlines (first/third day of hire, respectively).  However, employers who have employees taking physical proximity precautions may review the employee’s documents via video conferencing and obtain, inspect and retain copies of the documents within the usual 3-day period.  In addition, employers must enter “COVID-19” in Section 2, Additional Information box.  Once the employer resumes regular operations, the employer must review the employee’s documents in person, per standard procedure, then annotate the Additional Information box in Section 2 of Form I-9 to state “documents physically examined” and write the date of in-person inspection.

Can all employers use the remote verification process during the pandemic?

No. The exception to in-person verification only applies to employers and workplaces that are operating remotely as a result of the pandemic.  If there are employees physically present at a work location, no exceptions apply and the standard in-person verification remains in effect, unless a new hire is subject to quarantine, on a case-by-case basis.  In addition, in the event of an audit, employers who used the remote verification process during the COVID-19 National Emergency will be required to provide written documentation of their remote onboarding and telework policy for each employee.

How long can employers use the remote document review process?

Employers may use the remote review procedure for 60 days from the date when ICE announced it (March 20, 2020), or no later than three days after the National Emergency ends, whichever is earlier.  These time frames may be subject to change as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to develop.

Are there any changes to E-Verify requirements during the pandemic?

For employers enrolled in E-Verify, all general rules still apply.  If an employer is unable to create an E-Verify case within three days of hire per the standard requirement and the delay is related to COVID-19, the employer should select “Other” from the drop-down list and enter COVID-19 as the specific reason.

If the system generates a Tentative Non-confirmation (TNC) result, the employer must still notify the employee and follow the standard procedure for TNCs.  However, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) indicated that it is extending the timeframe to resolve TNCs related to SSN mismatch, where the Social Security Administration has closed its offices to the public in response to COVID-19.  The period to resolve TNCs related to information within the DHS system (rather than SSA) may also be extended, if the employee is not able to contact the applicable DHS office due to a public closure.

As always, employers are prohibited from taking any adverse action against employees because the E-Verify case is in an interim status, even if the interim status is extended under the COVID-19 exceptions.

We will continue to monitor these developments and will provide periodic updates.  If you have any immigration-related questions in general, or specific to the state of U.S. immigration during the coronavirus outbreak, please contact Attorney Raluca (Luca) Vais-Ottosen at rvo@dewittllp.com or 608-252-9291. 

 

About the Author

Raluca Vais-Ottosen has assisted numerous clients with Immigration matters ranging from family-based and individual Immigration applications, to employment related visas and I-9 employment eligibility verification issues. In addition to her Immigration practice, she also has an extensive background in Employment Law. She assists companies in a number of areas, including but not limited to claims of workplace discrimination, harassment and retaliation, termination and constructive discharge, workplace investigations by State and Federal agencies, as well as Employment Litigation.

Contact Luca by email or by phone at (608) 252-9291.

Disclaimer

One of the best features about our website articles and blog entries is that they are timely—you get up-to-date information on the law as it exists at the time. The downside is that the law changes, but our older entries don't. That means we can't guarantee you are getting the most current law when reading through past entries.

Please don't take these articles and blog entries and rely on them as legal advice. Give us a call instead, for specific and pointed advice for your particular situation. Note that contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship, unless you are accepted as a client of the firm.

Our Locations

Closed to outside visitors.
There may be emergency
exceptions to this measure
and our attorneys will actively
coordinate those situations
directly with our clients.  

Madison

2 East Mifflin Street, Suite 600
Madison, WI 53703
(608) 255-8891
Get Directions

Greater Milwaukee

13845 Bishop’s Drive, Suite 300
Brookfield, WI 53005
(262) 754-2840
Get Directions

Minneapolis

2100 AT&T Tower,
901 Marquette Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55402
(612) 305-1400
Get Directions


Get to know us

DeWitt LLP is one of the ten largest law firms based in Wisconsin, with an additional presence in Minnesota. It has nearly 140 attorneys practicing in Madison, Metropolitan Milwaukee and Minneapolis in over 30 legal practice areas, and has the experience to service clients of all scopes and sizes.

Our People
Our Law Firm
Leadership
Areas of Expertise
News & Education
Contact Us

Partners

We are an active and proud member of Lexwork International, an association of mid-sized independent law firms in major cities located throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia and an active member of SCG Legal, an association of more than 140 independent law firms serving businesses in all 50 state capitals and major commercial centers around the world.

Awards

Best Lawyers 2013 – 2018
Compass Award 2012
Top 100 Lawyers: National Trial Lawyers Association

  • blf-badge-2016
  • blf-badge-2017
  • Ramac Member Logo
  • blf-badge-2018
  • BLF-Badge-2019

NOTICE

While we would like to hear from you, we cannot represent you until we know that doing so will not create a conflict of interest. Accordingly, please do not send us any information about any matter that may involve you until you receive a written statement from us that we represent you (an “engagement letter”). You will not be a client of the firm until you receive such an engagement letter.

The best way for you to initiate a possible representation is to call DeWitt LLP at 608-255-8891. We will make every effort to put you in touch with a lawyer suited to handle your matter. When you receive an engagement letter from one of our lawyers, you will be our client and we may exchange information freely.

Please click the “OK” button if you understand and accept the foregoing statement and wish to proceed.