Form I-9 Gets a Facelift, and California Enacts Anti-Discrimination Law for Form

Form I-9 Gets a Facelift, and California Enacts Anti-Discrimination Law for Form

by Arielle M. Rediger, Esq.

Starting January 22, 2017, employers are required to use a new Form I-9, which will be in place until August 31, 2019. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) touts this Form as being more “user-friendly” as employees and employers can now complete the Form on a computer via a fillable PDF containing helpful drop down menus within. However, even if the Form is completed on the computer, it must still be retained pursuant to the same retention requirements for the old Form I-9.

Related, a new California law went into effect on January 1, 2017, which prohibits discriminatory conduct in connection with completing Form I-9. While much of this conduct was already prohibited under federal law, California Labor Code section 1019.1 now makes the following employer conduct unlawful under California law:

  • Requesting more or different documents than are required under Section 1324a(b) of Title 8 of the US Code;
  • Refusing to honor documents tendered that on their face reasonably appear to be genuine;
  • Refusing to honor documents or work authorization based upon the specific status or term of status that accompanies the authorization to work;
  • Attempting to reinvestigate or reverify an incumbent employee’s authorization to work using an unfair immigration-related practice.

An applicant or employee who believes he or she has been subject to any of the above conduct can file a complaint against the employer with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). If an employer is found to have committed a violation, he or she may be subject to a penalty up to $10,000.00 per violation.

Click here for a fillable PDF of the new Form I-9 (requires latest version of Adobe Reader).

Click here for a non-fillable PDF (i.e., to be printed and filled out by hand).

Click here for instructions on completing the new Form I-9.