Originally published: April 17, 2017
The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently reached a settlement against a pizza restaurant franchisee with 31 locations in Florida for $140,000. Why? To answer that question we need to unpack the onboarding process and focus on the Employment Eligibility Verification form (the “Form I-9” or “I-9”). It is important for leaders within the quick service restaurant industry to understand the employee onboarding process to avoid claims of unlawful discriminatory practices under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
First, the basics. All employers must complete a Form I-9 for any new hire within three business days of hire, regardless of whether a company or franchise has 3 or 300 employees. The form is issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and its purpose is to document a new hire’s identity and work authorization. Separately, if an employer participates in E-Verify they must create a case in the electronic employment eligibility verification system through USCIS within three business days of hire. It is a tight timeline, but failure to do so can lead to a substantive violation under the INA. Civil penalties start at $216 per form and may increase to $2,156 per form.