In the U.S., it is unlawful for employers to knowingly employ workers who do not have valid work authorization. To ensure this does not happen, most employers must complete I-9 forms to verify both the identity and the work eligibility of each new employee.
While the I-9 process is common and straightforward, employers can use it to engage in illegal discrimination. If you think your employer may be discriminating against you, you may have to act quickly to assert your rights and protect your job.
Requiring specific documents
As long as the document or documents you want to offer for I-9 purposes are on the list of acceptable documents, your employer should accept them. If your employer asks for additional documents or different ones, you may be a victim of illegal workplace discrimination.
Treating employees differently
Your employer should treat all new hires the same way. If your employer asks you to do something different when completing the employment eligibility verification process, you have a problem on your hands. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, treating workers differently can form the basis of a national original origin or citizenship status discrimination claim.
Reverifying expired documents
Unless you have some type of temporary work authorization, such as an employment authorization document or nonimmigrant work visa, your employer probably should not reverify your documents when they expire. If your employer asks you for unexpired documents after the ones you previously presented expire, you should question whether the request is discriminatory.
Ultimately, if you are at risk of losing your job because of your employer’s discriminatory I-9 process, you may be able to keep working by bringing the matter to your employer’s attention.