Reminder to Purge Old I-9s

In lieu of all the changes employers have had to face since the pandemic, this article serves as a reminder to employers and HR departments/professionals to purge old I-9s or face possible consequences. I-9s must be retained either one year after the date of termination or three years after the date of hire, whichever is later.  This retention period applies only after the employment is terminated.  (In limited circumstances (litigation, etc.), employers may need to retain I-9s for a longer period.)

Consequences may occur if employers untimely destroy I-9s.  Generally, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) gives employers only three business days to produce I-9s and associated documentation. If employers destroy I-9s too late and ICE requests documentation, employers may not have the time or resources to remove/purge them before responding, which may lead to fines and penalties against the employer.  If employers destroy I-9s too early, they may face penalties of up to $2,000 or more.

To avoid liability, employers/HR departments should include the I-9 retention period in their current retention system, and ensure the proper checks and balances are in place to keep track of and properly destroy old I-9s.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact TMI.

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