Rules + Regs

Employers should be wary of union activity when completing I-9 forms

Employers seeking to comply with the Trump administration's immigration enforcement efforts by verifying employees' work authorization may face scrutiny from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) if union formation or negotiation concurrently is underway.

Most often, verifying employees' work authorization is innocent; the employer is simply trying to comply with immigration law, David Grunblatt, an attorney with Proskauer, Newark, N.J., told Bloomberg BNA. But when employers engage in verification while employees are trying to form a union, the employer's action could be seen as "a sneaky way of trying to intimidate" workers, Grunblatt explains.

For example, meatpacking company Ruprecht Co., Mundelein, Ill., was found to be in violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) after the company enrolled in the E-Verify electronic employment verification system during ongoing negotiations over a contract with labor union UNITE HERE. Ruprecht enrolled in the E-Verify system in response to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audit of the company's I-9 employment verification forms.