Employers Must Use New Version of Form I-9

inshistory9Effective January 22, 2017 employers should have started using the new version of Form I-9 (marked 11/14/2016) and should discontinue use of any forms with expiration dates prior to 2017.  The newest version of the form can be found on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.

Employers who fail to use the new version of the form for new hires after January 22, 2017 will be subject to penalties which were recently increased drastically (effective August 1, 2016 the minimum penalty increased from $110 to $216 per violation and the maximum penalty increased from $1,100 to $2,156 per violation).

To avoid these penalties, employers should be using the new version of the form and should also ensure that the forms are filled out completely and correctly.

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Improve Your Interview Procedures and Get Results

Have you ever asked these questions during a job interview?

Q. What do you want to be doing five years from now-Q. How would you handle a situation where an employee needed discipline-Q. What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses-

Big mistake! Questions like these can inspire creative applicants to tell you what they think you want to hear in order to try and impress you.

Another mistake is asking theoretical questions. You’ll get theoretical answers and possibly learn a lot about the prospective employee’s dreams and fantasies. Or you might learn nothing at all.

A better approach is to ask for specifics to elicit responses that tell you what the applicant has done — rather than what he or she intends to do.

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Pre-Employment Screening Services Can Help Prevent Workplace Violence

!The numbers are disturbing enough to keep business owners and managers awake at night: nearly two million American workers report being victims of workplace violence every year.

Two million workers. Those chilling figures come from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). Workplace violence ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide, according to OSHA.  To make matters worse, experts say that many cases go unreported.

As a result, businesses need to plan how to prevent workplace violence not only with current workers, but before potentially violent individuals are hired.

OSHA defines workplace violence as “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. It can affect and involve employees, clients, customers, and visitors.”

That’s why it’s important to take preemptive steps to screen out workers who might demonstrate any propensity for dangerous or disruptive acts, so they aren’t hired in the first place.

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Employment Background Checks: Proceed with Caution

caution-943376_1280Recently there have been an increased number of class action lawsuits against employers due to background screenings.  Many employers use background checks, referred to as “consumer reports,” to obtain information about an individual such as reputation, character, credit worthiness, criminal background, civil lawsuits, driving record, education verification and other information. The information obtained through these consumer reports is used to make employment related decisions such as hiring new employees or promoting existing employees.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that, in one survey, a total of 92% of responding employers stated that they subjected all or some of their job candidates to criminal background checks.  Reasons for employers to use background checks include federal, state and local laws, as well as preventing theft, fraud, and workplace violence, and reducing the likelihood of negligent hiring liability.

Excluding information regarding genetic and medical history, employers legally have the right to request additional background information regarding any applicant or employee of their company.  But be cautious, as there are federal and state regulations which employers must comply with when using consumer reports.

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Interviewing Disabled Applicants: What NOT to Ask

negative-42774_1280You always want to be careful when interviewing job applicants so you don’t ask questions which can lead to legal trouble.  For example, here’s a question you should avoid: “Have you ever been injured on the job?”

Due to laws which protect disabled individuals from discrimination, you may want to brush up on interviewing etiquette to make sure you’re not discriminating against persons with disabilities.

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Written Job Offers – Question from Employer

hand-648445_1280Question:

Before I hire a new employee, I usually give that person a written summary of the specifics we have discussed during the interview.  I include such things as pay, starting date and benefits.  Now I wonder, am I creating a contract by putting a job offer in writing?

Answer:

Depending on the content of your communication, it’s possible you may be creating an employment contract or documenting elements of an employment contract.

Keep this in mind: Every new employee who begins a new job has a contract of employment.  Usually the terms of this contract are made up of overt and implied oral promises which a supervisor or manager has made to the employee, statements in the application form and in the employee handbook, and commonly accepted practices in the workplace.  So anything about conditions of employment that someone in authority in a workplace puts in writing and gives to an employee can create terms of an employment contract.

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The Employer’s Role in Documenting Workers Eligibility to Work (Form I-9)

pen-543858_1280The employer’s role in documenting alien workers is a balancing act.

Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), you must verify through examination of certain documents that employees are authorized to work in the U.S.  At the same time, you must avoid unfair employment practices.

By law, you must complete an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form for each new hire and keep the forms on file.  Former employees’ forms must be kept for three years from the hiring date or one year after termination, whichever is later.

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