Can the I-9 process be discriminatory?

On Behalf of | Nov 21, 2021 | Discrimination At Work

If you have worked with more than one employer during your career, you are undoubtedly familiar with the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification. This is the form you complete when you start a new job to verify your identity and authorization to work in the U.S.

When you complete your I-9, you must provide documentation to prove you are legally eligible to work in the U.S. Regrettably, employers may use the I-9 process to discriminate against workers in a few different ways.

Asking too early

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, employees have three days after their first day of employment to provide acceptable I-9 documentation. If your employer asks you to present documents before extending a job offer, your employer may be discriminating against you.

Refusing to accept acceptable documents

The instructions to Form I-9 leave no doubt as to which documents are acceptable for proving identity and work authorization. If your employer refuses to accept an acceptable document or a combination of acceptable documents, you may have a valid discrimination claim.

Requiring specific documents

You are free to provide your employer with any acceptable document or combination of acceptable documents you choose. After you do so, your employer typically cannot ask for different or specific documents. Telling new workers which documents they must offer is usually an unfair immigration-related employment practice.

Before you start a new job, it may be advisable to download Form I-9 and read through its instructions. Ultimately, though, if your employer uses the employment eligibility verification process to discriminate against you, you may have to act quickly to save your job.