New I-9 form for use on September 18, 2017

Don’t forget to begin using the new Form I-9 on Monday September 18, 2017.  This is the third time this year that the Form I-9 has been updated.  The Smart Form I-9 went into effect in January, corrections were made in the spring, and a new version goes into effect on September 18.  According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the new revisions are relatively minor and primarily relate to the List of Acceptable Documents.  The retention and storage requirements remain the same.

A new 15-page set of instructions is available for the form, and an updated Handbook for Employers, a valuable resource for those handling Form I-9 issues is available on the USCIS website.

The new form applies to new hires only and has an expiration date of August 31, 2019.  You may retrieve the new form here.  Be sure to remove any of the previous forms from your new hire packets to avoid inadvertently using an outdated form.

This post is not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  If you have any questions about this information, please contact an employment law attorney at Martin, Browne, Hull & Harper, P.L.L. at 937-324-5541.

 

USCIS releases corrected I-9 form

USCIS RELEASES CORRECTED I-9 FORM, PLUS COMING CHANGES TO WORK AUTHORIZATION CARDS

In January of this year we notified our clients that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) implemented a new I-9 form in an electronic fillable format.

Unfortunately, there was a glitch in the fillable form that caused social security numbers to display improperly when the form was printed.  For example, the number 123-45-6789 entered into the Social Security number field would appear as 123-34-6789 in the printed form.  USCIS has repaired the glitch and reposted the form on its website.  You may download the corrected version of the form here.

Employers who used the I-9 form released earlier this year should audit the printed I-9 forms to ensure that all employee information is displayed accurately.  Any errors should be corrected by doing the following:

  1. Have the employee strike out the incorrect information and enter the correct data (e.g. Social Security number);
  2. Both the employee as well as employer representative should initial and date the changes;
  3. The employer should prepare a brief written statement as to why the correction was made and attach this to the Form I-9.

Corrected forms do not need to be sent to USCIS, but should be kept on hand in case of a future audit.

In addition to news about the I-9 forms, USCIS also announced changes to its Permanent Resident Card (“Green Card”) and the Employment Authorization Document (“EAD”).  Beginning May 1, 2017 these cards will display the individual’s photo on both sides; have embedded holographic images and color palettes to help prevent forgery and tampering; and will no longer display the individual’s signature. 

Employers may accept both versions of the Green Cards and EAD documents for employment verification purposes.  All cards will continue to be valid through the expiration date shown on the card.  In addition, USCIS announced that it will continue to issue the old style documents until the new version is completely phased in.

This post is not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice, nor does it constitute an attorney-client relationship.  If you have any questions about this information, please contact an attorney at Martin, Browne, Hull & Harper, P.L.L. at 937-324-5541.

Concealed Carry Law Affects Ohio Employers

Upcoming Changes to Concealed Carry Law Affects Ohio Employers, too.

In a highly publicized development, Gov. John Kasich signed into law Senate Bill 199 on December 19, 2016.  This law is set to go into effect on March 20, 2017.  It will greatly expand the legal right of concealed handgun license holders to carry firearms and ammunition into areas from which they were previously restricted.  Much of the media coverage regarding SB199 has focused on carrying firearms into child care centers and universities.  But the law also restricts the ability of Ohio employers to keep firearms off company property.

The new law prohibits both public and private Ohio businesses from establishing or enforcing any policy which restricts an employee from storing a firearm in their privately owned vehicle if the employee satisfies the following criteria:

  • The employee holds a valid concealed handgun license;
  • The firearm is located in the employee’s privately-owned vehicle;
  • The employee is physically present in the vehicle; OR
  • If the employee is not present in the vehicle, then the firearm is locked in the trunk, glove box or another enclosed compartment within the vehicle;
  • The vehicle is parked in a location where it is authorized to be.

The new law also provides protections for Ohio employers.

The law shields employers from liability with respect to any accident, injury or death resulting from an employee’s bringing a firearm onto company property in compliance with this law.  This protection is expressly extended to any incident resulting from a firearm which is stolen from an employee’s vehicle.

In considering what steps an employer must take with respect to this new law, it is worth emphasizing the following points:

  • Employers may continue to prohibit firearms inside company buildings;
  • Employers may restrict an employee from having a firearm on their person – even in company parking areas, and even if said employee holds a valid concealed handgun license;
  • Employers may restrict an employee from storing firearms within company-owned vehicles;

Employers with blanket policies restricting firearms on company property should consider revising their policies in order to comply with the new law which goes into effect on March 20, 2017.

This post is not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice, nor does it constitute an attorney-client relationship.  If you have any questions about this information, please contact an attorney at Martin, Browne, Hull & Harper, P.L.L. at 937-324-5541.

“SMART” I-9 FORMS GO INTO EFFECT MONDAY, JANUARY 22, 2017

EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE:  “SMART” I-9 FORMS GO INTO EFFECT MONDAY 

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) released the newest version of the I-9 Form during the last quarter of 2016.  This email serves as a reminder that the previous form expires on January 21, 2017.  If you haven’t already implemented the new form into your hiring process, you must do so by Monday, January 22, 2017.

The new form is available here: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9.

Employers and employees alike have historically struggled to complete the I-9 form correctly.  The two-page form is very detailed, creating many opportunities for technical errors that could result in fines and penalties for employers.  The new “smart” I-9 has a number of features designed to improve the process and reduce errors.  Some of the most notable changes include:

  • Validated fields ensure information is entered properly;
  • Drop-down lists and calendars replace blank entry spaces in some fields;
  • Embedded instructions specific to each field that can be accessed by clicking or hovering over a corresponding “question mark” icon; and
  • A dedicated area to enter additional information related to work-authorization scenarios (e.g., Temporary Protected Status, Optional Practical Training extensions, H-1B Portability, etc.).

A particularly nice feature of the “smart” I-9 is the ability to complete the form electronically in fillable pdf format.  You should note that the “smart” I-9 stops short of being an “electronic form.” As such, employers will still need to print the document, obtain handwritten signatures and follow their established filing and retention procedures for storing completed documents.  However, the electronic data entry features should help ensure that information is entered in the correct formats and mandatory fields are not left blank.

Although the new form is designed to reduce the frequency of data-entry and technical errors employers must still carefully review completed forms for accuracy in order to avoid costly financial penalties. 

This post is not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  If you have any questions about this information, please contact an attorney at Martin, Browne, Hull & Harper, P.L.L. at 937-324-5541.

Employment Law Reminder: New OSHA Reporting Requirements Now in Effect – Are You in Compliance?

Employment Law Reminder: New OSHA Reporting Requirements Now in Effect – Are You in Compliance?

It has been a busy year-end for the Department of Labor with new rules and guidance.   Although employers were recently granted a temporary reprieve with respect to the Department of Labor’s new overtime regulations, this week a federal court refused to grant an injunction with respect to OSHA’s new electronic reporting requirements and guidance.

Accordingly, the new electronic reporting requirements became effective December 1, 2016.  Employers should take a moment to make sure they understand what is required of them under these new rules and ensure they are in compliance.  For more information on how these new reporting requirements affect employers now and at the beginning of 2017, see our article on that issue here: http://martinbrowne.com/oshas-new-reporting-rules-part-1-electronic-reporting-requirements/. These new reporting rules also include new guidance which restricts an employer’s ability to conduct automatic post-accident drug testing.  For more information on post-accident drug testing under the new rules see our update of August 5, 2016 here: http://martinbrowne.com/oshas-new-reporting-rules-part-2-employee-rights-post-accident-drug-testing/.

For more information, or should you require analysis of how these issues might affect your company, contact the attorneys at Martin, Browne, Hull & Harper, PLL.

This publication is not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice and its receipt does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  If you have any questions about this information, please contact your attorney at Martin, Browne, Hull & Harper, P.L.L. at 937-324-5541.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        One S. Limestone Street, Suite 800  •  P.O. Box 1488  •  Springfield, Ohio 45501-1488  •  Tel 937.324.5541  •   Fax 937.325.5432

OSHA’s New Reporting Rules – Part 1: Electronic Reporting Requirements

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August 5, 2016

OSHA’s New Reporting Rules – Part 1:  Electronic Reporting Requirements 

In May 2016, OSHA announced new reporting rules that would require certain employers to electronically report workplace accidents.  These rules will become effective as of January 1, 2017.  Although the rule does not change the information employers are required to assemble following an accident, it does alter the way in which the employer will handle and ultimately report the information to OSHA.  According to OSHA, its goal is to “make employers, the public, and the government better informed about workplace hazards.” 

The following is a brief summary of the new reporting rules:

  • Employers with 20-249 employees in certain industries will be required to electronically submit OSHA form 300A.
  • Employers with 250 or more employees that are required to keep OSHA injury and wellness records must electronically submit OSHA form 300A starting January 1, 2017, and beginning January 1, 2018 these employers must also electronically submit OSHA forms 300A and 301.

Also included in the new reporting rules are a number of protections aimed at protecting employees from potential retaliation for reporting workplace accidents, which may significantly impact how employers conduct post-accident drug testing.   For more information on this issue, see our legal update being sent later today, discussing the impact of OSHA’s new rules on post-accident drug testing.

For more information on the new electronic reporting rules, see the OSHA Fact Sheet at the following link:  https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3862.pdf

For a comprehensive list of industries governed by those rules applicable to employers with 20-249 employees, see the following link:  https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/NAICScodesforelectronicsubmission.pdf

This e-mail is not intended as a substitute for professional legal advice and its receipt does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  If you have any questions about this information, please contact your attorney at Martin, Browne, Hull & Harper, P.L.L. at 937-324-5541.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        One Main Street, Suite 800  •  P.O. Box 1488  •  Springfield, Ohio 45501-1488  •  Tel 937.324.5541  • Fax 937.325.5432