Onboarding and E-Verify – Timing Is Everything

If you do business in an industry with a high churn rate and lower than average pay, ensuring that all your employees are eligible to work in the U.S. can be a challenge. Using the E-Verify system (in conjunction with our Universal onboarding solution, naturally) can significantly reduce the amount of time your HR department spends on this task. However, you have to be careful to follow the rules! This means you need to perform verifications at the correct juncture in the recruiting/onboarding process.

Employers have only 3 business days from a worker’s date of hire to examine identification documents and turn in a completed I9 form. What if the results come back showing that there is a problem with an employee’s eligibility status? You may have already invested time and resources on new hire training for a worker you then have to terminate.

Don’t Jump the Gun

Because of this, some business owners are tempted to run job candidates through E-Verify as part of the recruitment screening process. Be warned, this isn’t a permissible use of E-Verify. That’s because the system isn’t perfect. It sometimes flags people due to clerical errors and other simple mistakes.

Without further investigation, it’s impossible to know if the individual received this tentative non-confirmation for a good reason or not. As you can imagine, an employer who has not yet extended a job offer would be likely to just pitch those flagged applicants in the bin and move on to less complicated prospects.

Legally, a new hire must be notified if there is any concern raised by E-Verify about his/her work documents and status. Employers are prohibited from taking action to suspend, fire, or otherwise punish an employee until the subsequent investigation is complete. With questionable applicants, an employer could just keep the reasons for not hiring them secret. This lack of accountability poses a real problem.

To comply with federal law, have the I9 filled out during the portion of the onboarding process that begins after a new hire accepts your job offer – not before.

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