HR is often stuck with the sometimes conflicting duties of fighting illegal immigration and avoiding national origin discrimination. The Department of Justice recently issued some guidance on how to stay safe on both sides.
A key question from employers: When is it OK to fire someone who provided a name and social security number that don’t match what’s in the federal database?
In a new regulation published last week, the DOJ stated that an employer can avoid a discrimination charge if it follows the rules laid out by the Department of Homeland Security after receiving a no-match letter from the Social Security Administration.
The DHS’s no-match rules:
- When companies get a no-match letter, they have 30 days to check their own records and see if there’s a mistake on their part. If so, they need to send the SSA the corrected information and let them know the problem’s been solved.
- If there’s no error in the company’s paperwork, the firm must tell the employee about the notification. From that point, the employee has 90 days to clear up the problem with SSA.
- At the end of the 90-day period, the company has three days to complete a new I-9 form for the employee.
According to the DOJ, firing someone before taking all of the necessary steps to fix the discrepancy could lead to the agency pursuing a bias charge against the company.