Q. Should I always make and retain copies of Form I-9 supporting documents? —K.L., California
A. Federal law says you’re allowed, but not required, to make and retain copies of supporting I-9 documents (Social Security cards, green cards, etc.). There are two schools of thought about whether employers should do so: On the one hand, copies can help prove an employer’s “good-faith” compliance in case of an audit. On the other hand, if copies of the documents showed they were obviously fraudulent, the government could use the copies against the employer.
Our take: We think the first school of thought makes more sense. Unless you’re accepting documents that are blatantly fraudulent, copies can only help you. But take note: If you do make copies of supporting documents, do it consistently for every new hire or you’ll risk a bias lawsuit.