I will be presenting a free webinar on Wednesday, September 13 at 2 pm EST on Fair Chance Hiring Ordinances, also known as Ban the Box ordinances.  I will discuss what these ordinances are, the role they play during the hiring process, and where/how they apply to private employers (including specific state and city examples).

Nationwide over 150 cities and counties have adopted Ban the Box ordinances requiring employers consider a job applicant’s qualifications first, without the stigma of a criminal record. These initiatives provide job applicants a fair chance by removing the conviction history question on the job application and delaying the background check inquiry until later in the hiring process.  But many Ban the Box ordinances go beyond removing the criminal history question from the job application and require that employers take additional steps during the hiring process, such as conducting individualized assessments. Learn more on the free webinar.

The webinar is sponsored by the ClearStar Academy.  To register please click here.

The Trump Administration announced (click here and here) this week that it is phasing out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.   DACA is a program that allows certain individuals who came to the United States as children, who have continuously resided in the United States and are in school, graduated from high school or obtained a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the military, to apply for benefits.  One important benefit is work authorization.   

What does DACA rescission mean for employers and the employment eligibility verification form (the “Form I-9”)?

DACA is a program implemented in 2012 under the Obama Administration.  It has provided relief from deportation to approximately 700,000 – 800,000 individuals who would otherwise be in the country unlawfully. Under DACA, beneficiaries removal (aka deportation from the United States) is deferred during the duration of the program.  Once the program ends, beneficiaries revert back to their original status and may be  subject to removal from the United States for being unlawfully present in the country.  The DACA program provides recipients renewable two-year term benefits, including an employment authorization document (EAD).  According to the DHS, DACA beneficiaries will be allowed to retain both their DACA status and their EAD until they expire.  DACA-issued EADs are due to expire this year, in 2018 and 2019.  On a case by case basis, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will adjudicate properly filed pending DACA initial requests and associated applications for EADs which were filed and accepted as of September 5, 2017. Certain pending DACA renewal requests and associated applications for EADs where beneficiaries benefits will expire between September 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 will be adjudicated if the renewal request is filed prior to October 5, 2017.   For more on renewing DACA benefits click here.

In many cases employers will likely not be aware that a particular employee provided an EAD pursuant to DACA as proof of work authorization.  For purposes of completing the Form I-9, a DACA beneficiary would have provided an unexpired EAD for a two year period.  This is a valid List A document for purposes of completing section 2 of the Form I-9.   Given that these EADs will begin expiring it is an important reminder for employers to have a system in place to monitor expiring temporary work authorization documents associated with Form I-9 completion.  Organizations policies and procedures must include a notification system whereby both the organization and the employee are aware and proactively addressing the fact that an individual’s EAD is expiring.  On or before the expiration date listed on the EAD, employers must re-verify the individual’s work authorization.  This re-verification is generally done in section 3 of the Form I-9.   Given that the DACA program is being phased out, current beneficiaries may not have a valid EAD once their current work authorization expires and may therefore not be eligible for continuing employment.

It is important to note that up until an employee’s current EAD expires, DACA beneficiaries are lawfully able to be in the United States and work.  The program is being phased out and not ended effective immediately.  However, once an employee’s temporary EAD expires—regardless of whether they are a DACA beneficiary or not—their continuing work authorization must be verified.  In some cases an individual employee may not be able to demonstrate continuing work authorization either in the form of a List A document (e.g., renewed EAD) or List B and List C documents (e.g., Driver’s License and Social Security Card).  When an employee cannot demonstrate continuing work authorization for purposes of the Form I-9, they must be terminated.  There is no grace period once someone’s temporary work authorization expires allowing them to continue their employment in the United States.  In fact, employers who continue to employ someone knowing they are not authorized to be employed in the United States may face civil and criminal penalties. Civil penalties for knowingly employing unauthorized aliens range from $539 – $4,313 per violation.

To be clear, current DACA beneficiaries holding a valid, unexpired EAD are authorized to work for any employer in the United States for the duration of time listed on their EAD.

On September 12th at 2 pm EST I will be presenting on a SHRM sponsored webinar entitled “What You Need to Know Now About Form I-9 and Immigration Enforcement.”   My co-presenter will be Mark Wobbe from Equifax.  Click here to read more about this upcoming free webinar.

Topics we will discuss include:

  • The new Form I-9 that is effective September 17, 2017.
  • Tips for mitigating potential risk as site visits and audits by U.S. Immigrations and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents from the Department of Homeland Security increase.
  • Best practices for improving Form I-9 compliance during new hire onboarding.

I hope you can join us.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced reforms to its internal processes to streamline information requests and improve transparency in Commission investigations.  Quick tutorial — the FTC may issue Civil Investigative Demands (CIDs) pursuant to the FTC Act to investigate possible “unfair or deceptive acts or practices” against consumers.

Stemming from the work of the internal Working Groups on Agency Reform and Efficiency, the Bureau of Consumer Protection (BCP) identified best practices and announced reforms related to Civil Investigative Demands (CIDs), which the agency issues in consumer protection cases. The reforms include:

  • Providing plain language descriptions of the CID process and developing business education materials to help small businesses understand how to comply;
  • Adding more detailed descriptions of the scope and purpose of investigations to give companies a better understanding of the information the agency seeks;
  • Where appropriate, limiting the relevant time periods to minimize undue burden on companies;
  • Where appropriate, significantly reducing the length and complexity of CID instructions for providing electronically stored data; and
  • Where appropriate, increasing response times for CIDs (for example, often 21 days to 30 days for targets, and 14 days to 21 days for third parties) to improve the quality and timeliness of compliance by recipients.

In addition, BCP will adhere to its current practice of communicating with investigation targets concerning the status of investigations at least every six months after they comply with the CID.

For those who have been the subject of a CID this won’t take away the pain of having to respond, but moving forward it will help mitigate some of the pain for those subject to a CID.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisor’s passed a pay equity ordinance on July 11, 2017 which is now awaiting the Mayor’s signature. The “Parity in Pay” ordinance will become operative July 1, 2018. The ordinance will ban private employers from inquiring about and considering a job applicant’s prior salary history. It will also apply to certain contractors working with the city of San Francisco.  The ordinance, which adds Article 33 to the Police Code and Chapter 12K to the Administrative Code, can be found by clicking here.

  • The ordinance will apply to applicants applying for private employment to be performed in the geographic boundaries of San Francisco (the city and county). Under certain circumstances, the ordinance also applies to applicants for private employment where the work is performed under a contract with the city of San Francisco or when the work is performed on city property used under a lease, permit or license.
  • The prohibition is such that an employer cannot consider or rely on an applicant’s salary history as a factor in determining whether to offer employment to an applicant, or what their salary will be. Furthermore, employers cannot release the salary history of current or former employees to an applicant’s prospective employer without written authorization from the current or former employee, unless the release of salary history is required by law, is part of a publicly available record, or is subject to a collective bargaining agreement.
  • If an applicant voluntarily discloses salary history or provides written authorization to the release of salary history, then such can be considered or verified by an employer.

California’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) will publish and make available in multiple languages notices describing to job applicants and employees their rights under the law. Employers will be required to post such notices in a conspicuous place at their workplace.

San Francisco joins the following states and cities with pay equity ordinances on the books — Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon, New York City, NY and Philadelphia, PA.

 

Employers take note that a new Form I-9 has been issued by the Department of Homeland Security. The Form I-9 was released July 17 and will be effective September 17, 2017.  Meaning, all employers must use the new version of the Form I-9 no later than September 18, 2017.  As of that date, prior versions of the form will not be acceptable.

In a nutshell the revised Form I-9 will (i) update List C to reflect the most current version of the certification or report of birth issued by the Department of State; (ii) make a change to the form’s instructions to remove “the end of” when describing the day on which Form I-9 completion is required; and (iii) make a revision to the name of the Department of Justice’s Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices to call it by its new name, the Immigrant and Employee Rights Section (IER). To read more about the changes please click here and see bullet point #4 and click here.

To view the Federal Register announcement click here.

Any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me – montserrat.miller@agg.com.

 

As my readers know, my legal practice covers advising organizations on both compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act as well as the Immigration and Nationality Act.  Background screening and immigration.  In the end, both federal laws address employee onboarding issues related to work authorization and background checks.

In addition to writing my (almost) weekly Compliance News Flashes, over the past few months I’ve written a series of bylines for different publications focusing on immigration-related worksite enforcement and how employers can protect themselves regarding their compliance with the employment eligibility verification requirements (i.e., the Form I-9). To facilitate compliance I thought it would be helpful to include these articles, as well as articles I’m quoted in along with a free webinar, in one blog posting with links.

Bylines:

  • The Record-Keeping Mistake You Could Be Making published in Construction Business Owner — “The Employment Eligibility Verification form—known as the Form I-9—is a deceptively difficult form for employers to complete, even though it is only two pages in length and its sole purpose is to document identity and work authorization. Proper completion of the Form I-9 is especially important in the industries with large workforces, given today’s environment. An employer’s good faith compliance with Form I-9 requirements can establish an affirmative defense to allegations of knowingly hiring unauthorized workers.”
  • Are Your Employment Practices Setting You Up for a Discrimination Claim? published in QSR Magazine — In an article published by QSR Magazine on April 18, 2017, Montserrat Miller helps leaders within the restaurant industry understand the employee onboarding process to avoid claims of unlawful discriminatory practices under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
  • Are Your Employment Practices Setting You Up for a Discrimination Claim? published in FSR Magazine — In an article published by FSR Magazine on April 18, 2017, Montserrat Miller helps leaders within the restaurant industry understand the employee onboarding process to avoid claims of unlawful discriminatory practices under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
  • Strategies to Maintaining a Legal Workforce as Concerns about Increased Worksite Enforcement Increase published in Georgia Contractor — see pages 30 and 31.

Quoted in:

Get Ready for More Immigration Audits,” Human Resource Executive Daily

In an article published by Human Resource Executive Daily on June 5, 2017, Montserrat Miller discusses immigration enforcement in the United States and how employers should prepare. “Make sure people on the front lines, such as receptionists, know what to do when an agent arrives. They also should know what documentation ICE agents are required to present when they arrive, and whom to summon for help, including HR leaders and legal counsel,” said Miller.

Immigration Enforcement Efforts Expected to Increase,” Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

In an article published by SHRM on May 18, 2017, Montserrat Miller is featured prominently in an article discussing how immigration enforcement related to the workplace–raids, audits and site visits–are likely to increase under the Trump administration and how audits will focus on visa fraud, not just Form I-9 violations.

Webinars:

In June I did a webinar for the Georgia Restaurant Association entitled Workplace Investigations by the Department of Homeland Security – Is Your Restaurant Ready?  — this free webinar is of general applicability and I encourage everyone to take advantage of free legal advice.

Compliance News Flashes:

If you’re interested in receiving the Compliance News Flashes (latest edition) please email me at montserrat.miller@agg.com. This newsletter provides quick blurbs on compliance issues related to background screening and immigration.