Filling Out the I-9 – Back to Basics: HR-101

Where does the I-9 form fit in the HR Generalist responsibilities spectrum?

With visas being revoked by the Trump administration, it seems like a fitting time to talk about one of the most responsibilities an HR Generalist may have.

Every HR person has to start from somewhere so I will be writing a series on HR basics for people who are just getting into HR. Stay tuned for the rest of the series!

There’s been a lot of uproar over I-9s lately. AB-450 in California prevented employers from allowing ICE to enter workplace premises without a warrant.

California, in an effort to protect immigrants from being deported, enacted additional laws to protect immigrants.

The state of California is now being sued by Trump’s Justice Department for three sanctuary laws.

What is an I-9 and what does it have to do with HR?

An I-9 is a basic employment form that all employees have to fill out within 3 days of being hired at Company. HR is often the responbile department that has to complete the form.

For example, if an employee gets hired on Tuesday, then they have to have an I-9 filled out by Friday.

What if the employee is hired on Thursday?

If your employee is hired on Thursday and your business days are Monday through Friday, then you should have a form filled out by Tuesday.

Who requires the I-9?

The I-9 is a federal form that is required by the Department of Homeland Security.

My Managers Fill Out the I-9

That’s fine. But as part of the HR department, it’s your job to train your managers on how to fill out the I-9. I will be following with a post and screenshots on different items to look out for.

In the meantime, make sure that you’ve been completely trained so you know what to look out for.

Starting in a New HR Role

If you’re just starting in a new HR role, a good place to start is auditing your current I-9s that are already pre-existing.

When is an I-9 Audit Necessary?

An audit of I-9s is customarily required especially when you are entering a new role.

By doing an audit, you’re making sure one of most basic areas of HR is covered.

Fines for I-9 violations start at $375 and can go up to several thousands of dollars.

Although you can’t change how the I-9 forms were filled out before you arrived, you can show good faith that your company is trying to remain compliant

Things to Remember

If you have only 100 people or less, it is a good idea to do a full audit.

However, if you have more than 100 people, and you don’t have the manpower to do a full audit, it’s a good idea to do a spot check.

If you are doing a random audit, make sure that how you are doing the audit is truly random and not discriminatory.

An easy way to ensure randomness is to pull I-9s by random patterned number of employees (ex: every 12th employee). Do not just do an audit by name.

Where do you start?

Start by making sure that you have a separate pile of terminated employees and employees who are currently active.

  1. Focus on the active employees first. Since I had less than a hundred employees and my employees were already separated between active and non-active, I went through the binder with Post-its.
  2. Look at section 1 and make sure that it’s all filled out. If not, have the employee fill out the section they missed, sign and date their change.
  3. Look at section 2, if any changes in this section need to be made, cross out the incorrect portion and fix it. Make sure to initial and date your change.

What if Section 2 is Completely Blank?

Don’t panic, grab a current I-9, notify the employee and re-certify.

Let the employee know that you’re very sorry that the information was missed and proceed to fill in the new form.

Attach the new form to the old form and a note indicating why a new form was completed.

E-verify: Is it the Same as the I-9 Form?

E-verify is not a replacement for the I-9 form. Instead, it’s a separate system that verified directly with the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration to make sure the data entered is correct.

E-verify has additional requirements and their own training program on their processes.


An I-9 audit can save you a lot of grief in the long run. And the sooner you start, the better!


But what do I know? I’m…

~Just the HR Girl

12 Must Do Items When You Start a New Job

It’s been a stressful month as you all know but I do have news! I have switched jobs and am now working as an HR Manager at a new job. Although I have changed in jobs and industries, a lot of the past HR knowledge that I’ve brought with me still applies. Thank you for all of your support, without my loyal readers, I wouldn’t be gaining all this additional knowledge.

So what should you do when starting a new job?

  1. Bring all your forms and official paperwork your first day including any documentation establishing your identity. Or a voided check to start your direct deposit.
  2. E-mail your HR person or your manager with any questions about your first day. There may be some new paperwork.
  3. Read your Employee Handbook! (Yes, I know it’s a billion pages, but trust me, handbooks are written for a reason.) The handbook will have all the rules including behavior, codes of conduct, dress code, leave (including bereavement, disability, and pregnancy leave).
  4. Do the commute, and figure how much time it takes to get there. It would be the worst impression to be late your first day.
  5. In addition to number 4, start creating a sleep schedule that matches your new job especially if you have to commute further.
  6. During the first 2 weeks, of any job, the best thing any employee can do is learn as much about the business as possible. Learn how the industry works, learn how different processes work, and learn who does what. Luckily, it’s the first 2 weeks, so any questions that you ask can be attributed to your learning process.
  7. Bring a notebook with you and meet with different people within your organization. Take notes so that you remember names and any advice they may have.
  8. Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer to something and don’t pretend you do. Instead ‘fess up that you don’t know and say you’ll find out.
  9. Practice power moves before any major meeting or any meeting. According to social psychology Amy Cuddy, posture can make a huge difference in how you feel in terms of confidence.
  10. Start putting processes in place to organize everything. If there’s a process in place for how to organize your e-mail, for example, then later on when you take on more tasks, you’ll naturally be more efficient. Create rules for where mail should automatically go. Set up signatures in Outlook of repeat e-mails you send.
  11. Disclose any pre-planned family vacations, especially if you haven’t done so already.
  12. Relax! Be yourself, your new employers saw something they liked about you in the interview and if you pretend to be something you’re not the first week, it will be harder to pretend as time goes on.

So, there are my tips to be highly successful at any new job. Good luck everyone!

But, again, what do I know? I’m…

~Just the HR Girl

Day Without Immigrants: Dealing with Protests

Protests impact businesses. There’s no arguing that.

Everyone today will be affected by the immigrant protests in some way, whether it’s noticing that there is a strange pattern in traffic, finding an empty desk at work, not being able to go to your favorite restaurant, or hearing about it on the news.

Originally the protest started with having undocumented immigrants protest by staying home from work, not attending school, not going shopping, not eating out, not going to restaurants etc… However, many people who are related to immigrants are choosing to protest as well.

With all of the protests, employers are beginning feel the stress of people who are protesting affect their businesses and bottom line. After all, business must still go on.

So, how should HR professionals deal with the protests?

Here are some tips and tricks to keep yourself out of trouble:

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