Top 5 Common I-9 Errors as Seen Through the Eyes of OCAHO

In reviewing the numerous OCAHO decisions issued in 2013, there have been some fairly common violations that have gotten employers in a lot of trouble. The most common violation is the most basic: failure to prepare an I-9 form, especially failing to complete an I-9 Form until after being served with a Notice of Inspection (NOI). Unfortunately, ignorance of the law, even if it is the truth, is no excuse. The second most common violation is failure to ensure the proper completion of Section 1 of the I-9 Form. The responsibility for executing an error-free Form I-9 rests solely on an employer, even if Section 1 must be completed by an employee. A third, common I-9 error is the backdating of I-9 Forms. Backdating occurs when the form is signed and the date indicated is not the date the form was actually signed, but when the form should have been signed, days, months or even years prior. Often, this violation is committed in conjunction with the failure to complete the I-9 Forms until after the service of the NOI. Employers also commit a wide variety of errors in the completion of Section 2. The one violation that is rarely present in OCAHO decisions is knowingly hiring and/or employing unauthorized workers. This is probably because those employers who have knowingly hired and/or employed unauthorized workers are less likely to litigate a case before OCAHO, unless it had a strong argument it did not actually knowingly hire an unauthorized worker.

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