Keeping it Legal: An Employer’s Guide to New Hire Paperwork

These days, one hears a lot of talk about the legal considerations involved in hiring a new worker. Most people understand that deliberately hiring “illegal aliens” will result in legal problems at best, and can even ruin a company. What if someone came to this country legally but now the visa has expired? Can an employer unknowingly hire someone who is not allowed to work? If so, how can an organization best protect itself from liability? Immigration law is notoriously complicated, just ask our lawmakers. What is an honest employer to do? There are a couple of sure fire steps to take with every new hire, which, along with appropriate record keeping, will eliminate that risk.

An employment application is an ideal place to start. It asks every candidate exactly the same questions about work history, military service and felony convictions. At some point, usually the bottom of the form, the applicant must state that the information listed is accurate and that they have the legal right to seek the job in question. They attest to the fact by signing their name. This is an employer’s first disclaimer. KB Staffing’s Sample Application

The next disclaimer should come during the interview process. The employer should advise the candidate that if he or she is hired, proof of identity and eligibility to work will be required. Any questions about what that means can be answered with a simple document produced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service. It is called an I-9 form and it is available on line at

The I-9 form is not only a valuable reference; it is now a necessary legal document for every employee. The form gives simple guidelines and a list of acceptable documents or combinations of documents to prove eligibility to work. The new hire fills out the top and provides their choice of items from the list. The employer fills out the rest and keeps it on file for at least three years (or longer if the employee remains on the payroll.) This is an employer’s biggest disclaimer – documents were produced and verified.

While we are on the subject of forms, another necessary document for a new hire is the W-4 form. Most people are fairly familiar with it; it allows an employee to declare tax allowances which subsequently tell the payroll administrator how much to send the IRS. And everyone wants to keep the IRS happy. The W-4 form is available at

Knowing the correct paperwork from the beginning can go a long way to keeping operations running smoothly. A reputable staffing firm is well-versed in the legalities of the hiring process. In the Bartow, Lakeland and Winter Haven area, KB Staffing can take the hassle out of human resources for permanent, temporary, temp to hire, or temporary full time personnel.

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