When hiring new employees and completing I-9 forms, employers must always balance the risks of hiring unauthorized workers using fake documents against discriminating against persons due to race, ethnicity, nationality, etc. Unless a prospective new hire’s documents are obviously fraudulent, the safest course of action for employers wishing to avoid potential discrimination claims is to voluntarily enroll in either the U.S. Government’s E-Verify program or Social Security Administration’s Social Security Number Verification System (SSNVS).

Information for Employers about the E-Verify system is available online at https://www.e-verify.gov/employers. If an employer is already voluntarily using E-Verify, then it may hire individuals pending the Federal Government’s verification of their identity and employment authorization documents. If the E-Verify system provides a tentative non-confirmation, then each individual has the option of either voluntarily terminating employment or challenging the non-confirmation with the relevant U.S. government agency. If the U.S. Government issues a Final Non-Confirmation, the employer may lawfully terminate employment and protect itself against discrimination claims referring to the Final Non-Confirmation. If an employer is not already using E-Verify but voluntarily registers to enroll in the system, then in the future it must indiscriminately use E-Verify to check the work eligibility of all newly hired employees.

If an employer does not wish to voluntarily enroll in E-Verify, then it may use the SSNVS to verify current and former employees’ names and Social Security numbers. Employers may access SSNVS information online at https://www.ssa.gov/employer/ssnv.htm.