Good-Faith Compliance refers to the practice of making a good faith effort to comply with the legal requirements of Form I-9, even if the documentation is later found to be incomplete or incorrect. Employers who follow this practice can avoid many of the penalties associated with Form I-9 violations, including fines, audits, and legal action.
The concept of good-faith compliance is rooted in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). IRCA requires employers to verify the employment eligibility of all employees hired after November 6, 1986, by completing Form I-9. Employers must also keep the forms for a certain period and make them available for inspection by authorized government officials.
To demonstrate good-faith compliance, employers must show that they have made reasonable efforts to ensure that their Form I-9 processes are accurate and complete. This includes conducting regular self-audits of their Form I-9 records, training their employees on the proper procedures for completing and updating the forms, and implementing effective processes to detect and correct any errors or omissions.
Employers who follow the best practices for good-faith compliance can also take advantage of the "safe harbor" provision, which shields them from liability for technical or procedural errors on the Form I-9. For instance, if an employer discovers that an employee's Form I-9 is missing a document or contains incorrect information, they have the opportunity to correct the form and provide the missing or corrected document. If done within a reasonable time frame, this will usually be considered good-faith compliance, and the employer may not be subject to penalties.
In conclusion, good-faith compliance with Form I-9 requirements is critical for employers to avoid penalties and maintain compliance with IRCA regulations. By implementing effective processes to detect and correct errors, conducting regular self-audits, and training their employees on proper procedures, employers can demonstrate their commitment to compliance and avoid penalties.