PICA is pleased to announce its newest program, designed to help members with issues relative to labor and employment laws.

The program, from the employment law firm of Jackson Lewis, is for members in both North and South Carolina.

Under the terms of this agreement, each PICA member will receive a 15% discount on legal fees once Jackson Lewis is retained by that PICA member.

In addition, the labor and employment law firm of Jackson Lewis will provide a hotline service for PICA members only. Each member can receive approximately 10 minutes of free guidance per call on general questions relating to labor and employment law.

Jackson Lewis is preparing an employment law desk book for PICA members which will provide a general overview of many of the employment and labor laws which affect employers in North and South Carolina. The desk reference is revised every other year so that the information is current and up-to-date.

The firm will also have articles on labor and employment issues featured in subsequent issues of The PICA Scanner.

For more information, the point of contact is Ellison McCoy at (864) 232-7000. Jackson Lewis has law offices in both North and South Carolina.

New rule allows electronic retention of I-9 forms

By Ellison McCoy
Jackson Lewis, LLP

On June 15, 2006 ICE published an interim rule which permits U.S. employers who are required to complete and retain Forms I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, to sign and retain these forms electronically (71 FR 34510, 06/15/06).

The interim rule implements statutory changes enacted in 2004 ( Public Law 108-390, October 30, 2004) to the Form I-9 retention requirements by establishing standards for electronic signatures and the electronic retention of I-9s. While written comments are due no later than August 14, 2006, the interim rule takes effect June 15, 2006.

Section 274A of the Immigration and Nationality Act (Act), 8 U.S.C. 1324a, requires all U.S. employers to verify the employment eligibility and identity of all employees hired to work in the United States after November 6, 1986. To comply with the law, an employer is responsible for the completion of an Employment Eligibility Verification form (Form I-9) for all employees, including United States citizens. Completed I-9s are not filed with the Federal Government; instead, they are retained by the employer during the period of employment and until the later of three years after the date of hire or one year after the date that employment is terminated. The failure to properly complete and retain I-9s may subject the employer to criminal and civil money penalties.

This rule does not limit employers to using one system for the storage of Forms I-9 electronically, nor does it identify one method for acceptable electronic signatures. Instead, the rule sets forth acceptable minimum standards for employers. Electronic signatures can be accomplished using various technologies including, but not limited to, electronic signature pads, Personal Identification Numbers (PIN), biometrics, and ``click to accept'' dialog boxes. All documents reproduced by the electronic retention system must exhibit a high degree of legibility and readability when displayed on a video display terminal or when printed on paper, microfilm, or microfiche.

An I-9 electronic generation or storage system must include:

Employers may use more than one electronic generation or storage system provided they meet the minimum system requirements. Employers may also use reasonable data compression or formatting technologies as part of the electronic storage system.

Employers who opt to complete and retain I-9s electronically must:

Jackson Lewis, LLP is an employment law attorney. For more information on the PICA members-only benefit program with Jackson Lewis, LLP, call Ellison McCoy directly at (864) 232-7000 or PICA at (704) 357-1150.

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