Immigration Reform and Control Act -- Is Your Company in Compliance?

By G. Steven Puckett | THE JOURNAL RECORD, January 17, 2001 | Go to article overview
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Immigration Reform and Control Act -- Is Your Company in Compliance?


G. Steven Puckett, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Most of you, as employers, are covered by numerous laws and regulations. In addition to industry-specific regulations, your businesses are covered by many state and federal laws.

Industry-specific regulations such as consumer product safety requirements, environmental regulations and financial regulations are usually well known to most of you. State laws and regulations may also be fairly familiar. But for some, federal regulations may present a host of questions that are sometimes left unanswered.

Which laws affect my business? What are my obligations as an employer? As my business grows, am I subjected to even more rules and regulations? How do I know when and if I need to comply? What are the consequences of non-compliance?

The majority of you know about withholding for Social Security, Medicare and FICA taxes. Most of you know about federal and state unemployment taxes.

Many, if not most of you, also know that the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, addresses the minimum wage and the payment of overtime and establishes a standard 40-hour workweek. The FLSA also sets the minimum age for employment and exempts some classifications of employees from overtime requirements. It applies to employers engaged in interstate commerce with two or more employees.

Other federal regulations that may govern your business, depending upon the number of employees you have, include: the Equal Pay Act, the OSHA Act of 1970, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, COBRA, the Family and Medical Leave Act, just to name a few.

One of the federal statutes that is sometimes overlooked is the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which is enforced by the Department of Justice and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. This act applies to all employers, regardless of the number of employees.

The act was enacted in 1986 and requires that you verify and document that every new employee is authorized to work in the United States. The documentation needed is the Employment Eligibility Verification form, more commonly known as the I-9.

Having been in the human resources field for many years, I am still amazed at the number of new employees who have not heard of the I-9 form. This indicates to me that there may be a number of employers who are not aware of this requirement or simply choose to ignore it.

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