Almost every dairy farmer is also an employer. That means in addition to all the work that surrounds owning and caring for cattle, dairy producers must be proficient in human resources.

At the recent Kansas Dairy Conference, business immigration attorney Leyla McMullen advised farmers to ensure their paperwork is thorough but fair.

“You should not hire unauthorized workers knowingly, and you should not engage in discrimination,” the attorney at MDIVANI Corporate Immigration Law Firm explained. “That means you should do just enough to fulfill the I-9 requirement, but you cannot go overboard.”

The I-9 is a key documentation, whether you are employing individuals born in this country or another. When walking through the government’s best practices for document management, McMullen outlined these 10 common I-9 mistakes.

  1. Failing to fill out an I-9 for an employee. This includes owners themselves who should also have an I-9 on file.
  2. Incomplete forms. “Two people complete the I-9. Section 1 is completed by the worker. You, as the employer, complete section 2,” McMullen detailed. She said under no circumstances should employers complete section 1 for employees.
  3. Incorrect information on the form.
  4. Unacceptable documents. “Make sure that all the documents that are listed on the I-9 are actually on the list of acceptable documents,” she explained.
  5. Overdocumentation. “You have to be really careful about which documents you take,” McMullen shared. “If someone is a permanent resident and gives you a permanent resident card, don’t put their social security card with the I-9. That’s an overdocumentation.”
  6. Inconsistent photocopying.
  7. Names and birth dates of an employee don’t match. McMullen explained this is a common version of mistake Number 3. If an employee is not properly documented, this type of mistake shows an employer should have noticed the discrepancy.
  8. Improper form corrections. If a mistake is made, a single line should be drawn through the mistake and the correction written above.
  9. I-9s stored in personnel files. McMullen recommends storing I-9s together in a file where they can be managed and destroyed after the appropriate amount of time expires once the employee leaves.
  10. Lacking plans and procedures for proper I-9 completion and storage. McMullen said these should be based on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) best practices.

While this type of paperwork can be intimidating for employers, but it is critical for healthy business practice. Being aware of and up-to-date on employment requirements can save a farm both time and money.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2024
June 10, 2024
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