employment lawyer in san francisco ca

New I-9 Form Required For All Employers

New I-9 forms are required this year.

After over a year of editing, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services agency of the Department of Homeland Security has published a new Employment Eligibility Verification Form (Form I-9). The new form went into effect on March 8, 2013. Recognizing that employers may need a bit of time to transition use to the new form, the USCIS provided a sixty (60) day “safe harbor” for employers, and thus, gave employers until May 7, 2013 to start using the new Form I-9. Thus, now is the time your company should be taking steps to be in compliance by early May.

The new I-9 Form is now nine pages in total (seven pages of instructions/information, one page for the employee to complete, and one page for the employer to complete). Generally, the entire form is much easier to read than the old forms, and should help to reduce mistakes by the employee and employer. The seven pages of instructions are also more helpful and provide more clarity. In addition, the USCIS has updated the “Handbook for Employers, Guidance for Completing Form I-9″ (M-274).

Some General Reminders and Tips:

  • Employers are required to complete the Form I-9 each time they hire a new employee (with some exceptions).
  • A new employee should fill out the first page of the Form I-9 at the date of hire (which is no earlier than when the employee accepts the job offer), which should be no later than the first day the employee performs work.
  • Then, the employer should review the employee’s information on the Form I-9, and complete the employer sections (page 2 of the form) no later than three (3) business days from the date of hire.
  • The employer must physically examine the documents the employee presents for verification, and the person who examined the documents must be the person who signs the Form I-9.
  • Most employers choose to photocopy the employee’s documents. If your company does so, then the company must be sure to follow this same practice for every employee.
  • Employers must retain the completed Form I-9 and copies of documents for as long as the employee works for the employer, AND for a period after the employee separates from the company. These records can be retained in paper format, on microfilm, or electronically, but please review Part 3 of the Handbook for details.
  • Employers could face stiff penalties:
    • For failing to comply with Form I-9 requirements: not less than $110 and not more than $1,100 for each violation;
    • For knowingly hiring (continuing to employ) unauthorized workers: not less than $375 and all the way up to $16,000 for each unauthorized worker;
    • Potential civil lawsuits for discrimination and retaliation; and
    • Additional penalties and even criminal charges for other violations.
  • Train company representatives who will be processing Form I-9s for your company.
  • Review/audit your Form I-9 procedures and files to determine how your company is doing and whether it is compliant.

Hoaxes, Lies and a President’s Unconstitutional Behavior

What does President Obama have to do with social media in the workplace?

My article titled “Social Media in the Workplace: Hoaxes, Lies and a President’s Unconstitutional Behavior” was chosen as one of the top Blog Posts by, and highlighted in, the February 8, 2013 Daily Headlines and Features by CommPRO.biz

My article focused on a federal court case (decided in late January 2013) finding that President Obama’s 2012 “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) violated the U.S. Constitution. One consequence of this court case is that now all of the NLRB’s decisions from 2012 are called into question since they were decided by an improperly seated NLRB. I analyze what this court decision means to employers and employees. I also analyze some of the repercussions the Mantei Te’o hoax and lying on resumes/LinkedIn can have in the workplace.

You can read more of my posts regarding Social Media in the Workplace at Windmill Networking.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Looking Forward To Another Great Year With The Contra Costa County Bar Association

My employment law seminar at the Contra Costa County Bar Association was a success!

On January 25, 2013, I was installed (sworn in) for my second year as a Board Member of the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA). The CCCBA has been considered one of the premier bar associations in the nation for quite some time due to a dedicated staff, Executive Director, and an active community of attorneys and volunteers.

I also had the opportunity to kick off the new year for the CCCBA’s Employment Law Section by co-presenting an Employment Law Update seminar to other attorneys in the CCCBA. I provided information regarding changes to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the Fair Employment and Housing Act, issues with social media in the workplace, changes to various Labor Codes, and discussed steps employers should take to remain complaint with new employment laws. We had a great audience and exchange of view points and tips for practitioners.

I look forward to another great year with The Contra Costa County Bar Association!

6 Key Social Media Resolutions for Employees and Employers

Is it time to make some new policies for social media?

Eat healthier. Ger more exercise. Spend more time with the kids.

Do you make resolutions for the new year? If so, you probably focus on the items that focus on your family, health and prosperity. Employees should also take the time to make some resolutions regarding social media and how it impacts their workplace. Companies too should keep some key resolutions in mind as the legal issues concerning social media in the workplace continue to shift.

In my article titled “6 New Year Resolutions for Employees and Employers Regarding Social Media” I offer some ideas to consider in order to help ensure social media does not become a liability, but rather an asset.

Continue to stay updated on these, and similar, important issues by reading my monthly contributions on Social Media and Employment Law at Windmill Networking, and by following my posts here as well.

Significant Changes To the California Fair Employment And Housing Act in 2013

Significant Changes To the California Fair Employment And Housing Act in 2013

California Department of Fair Employment and Housing

In a compromise to deal with California’ budget issues, Governor Brown signed a budget trailer bill (S.B. 1038) that significantly changes the way the employment (and housing) complaints will be handled by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Recently, Bloomberg BNA asked me to write about and analyze some of these changes. The most significant include:

  • The elimination of the Fair Employment and Housing Commission
  • The creation of the Fair Employment and Housing Council (whose primary role is rulemaking)
  • The authorization for the DFEH to file cases directly in court, and to recover reasonable attorney’s fees and costs when it prevails in court, and
  • The establishment of mandatory dispute resolution before the DFEH proceeds to court.

My attached White Paper provides a more complete description of these changes, and analysis of what it means for California employers. This White Paper was distributed to to subscribers of Bloomberg BNA’s “HR Library” and “HR Decision Support Network,” but I have attached it to this email free of charge for clients, colleagues and friends.

White Paper: New for 2013: Significant Enforcement Changes to California’s FEHA. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have questions about how to defend your company within the new DFEH framework.