COVID-19 Update: Despite court closures in many areas, Sterling is still able to complete criminal checks with minimal disruption thanks to our proprietary end-to-end automation that allows us to access court information. For additional info on how Sterling is handling the COVID-19 situation, please visit our COVID-19 page.

January 29th, 2015 | Sterling

Tips To Prevent Seasonal Worker I-9 Blunders

Tips To Prevent Seasonal Worker I-9 Blunders | SterlingBackcheck

According to a survey conducted in Q4 2014, 43% of retailers planned on hiring seasonal workers, up from 39% in 2013. With the abundance of seasonal workers hired, there are likely many hiring managers who, at this very moment, are tackling the unruly stacks of holiday hiring paperwork sitting atop their desks. As retailers catch their breath from a frenzied holiday season, now is a good time to look back on the impact that seasonal hiring has on I-9 compliance – and hopefully learn a few lessons for the next time around.

Costly Mistakes Add Up Fast

The penalties associated with failing to accurately complete Form I-9 or the improper retention of records can be extremely expensive for employers. Violations can result in civil fines, debarment from government contracts, and even criminal penalties when a pattern of violations is exhibited.

For a first time offender, failing to comply with Form I-9 requirements may result in civil fines of between $110 – $1,100 per form. For a small organization of just 50 employees, that could mean a penalty of up to $55,000.

Set a Date

Regardless of whether your employee was full-time, part-time, casual, temporary, permanent, seasonal, or otherwise, as an employer you are required to complete Form I-9 and store the document for a specific length of time.

Employers must retain Form I-9 documents for three years from the first day of paid work or one year after the termination date, whichever date is later. Before you cringe at the thought of sorting through your paperwork and calculating the date that you can start-up your paper shredder, there are some helpful tools available to help you determine when it is okay to throw away. Online Form I-9 calculators make it easy to comply with the regulations regarding Form I-9 compliance. You simply input the start date and termination date and they tell you how long you must retain the Form I-9.

Trade in Your DIY I-9 Program

Another way to avoid pricey penalties is to trade in your DIY approach to Form I-9 compliance and hire a third-party service provider. These services aid employers maintaining compliance when completing, retaining, and storing Form I-9s. Some of the most meaningful benefits include:

  1. Automatic Purge Notifications – digital solutions to notify you when expired Form I-9s are ready to be purged.
  2. Data Migration of Paper Forms – conversion of existing paper Form I-9s into digital copies so they can be stored in one convenient location.
  3. Form Correction – algorithms designed to detect and correct errors in both new and archived forms, preventing costly mistakes.
  4. Remote Hiring Solutions – cloud-based and mobile enabled solutions so you can take I-9 with you.
  5. Information and Data Security – forms are stored in a secure data center.
  6. Notary Assistance for Section 2 – provides remote hires with the ability to complete Section 2 at a nearby notary.


Other posts on this topic:

Bridging the Distance for I-9 Compliance

Don’t Let the Form I-9 Process Trip You Up

I-9 Violations Can Cost You Six Figures 

Try Our I-9 Risk Assessment Calculator


This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.