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Did your boss use your I-9 to discriminate against you?

| Nov 19, 2020 | Uncategorized

Most employers in the U.S. have a legal obligation to verify the identity and work authorization of all new employees. Consequently, when you started your job, your boss or someone from the human resources department probably asked you to complete Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

Unfortunately, employers sometimes use the I-9 process to discriminate against workers either intentionally or inadvertently. Here are some ways employment verification may constitute discrimination.

Requiring specific documentation

You have the option of providing any acceptable document or combination of documents that satisfies the I-9 requirement. That is, you may provide one document from List A or one document from List B plus one document from List C.

With few exceptions, employers may not require specific documentation beyond what the I-9 contemplates. For example, if you offer your driver’s license and U.S. Social Security Account Number card, your employer likely may not require you to provide your green card.

Re-verifying your work authorization

For temporary workers, employers must re-verify work authorization after it expires. That is usually not the case with U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, though. If you fall into either of these categories, your employer probably may not ask you to go through the I-9 process more than once.

Treating you differently

Employers usually cannot treat employees differently because of their immigration or citizenship status. Provided you have authorization to work in the U.S. and can satisfy the I-9 requirement, your employer should treat you the same as other workers.

Taking adverse employment action against you may be a violation of federal law. If your employer treats you differently or violates I-9 rules, you may have limited time both to assert your legal rights and to protect your job.