Electronic I-9 Software Vendor Dispute Puts Certain Employers in a Bind
Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) September 20, 2011 – The Department of Homeland Security’s enhanced worksite enforcement efforts and its electronic I-9 regulations have raised several issues since their inception, but a new lawsuit raises questions about employers’ private data.
“Now more than ever, employers considering a software vendor for paperless I-9 and E-Verify processing must perform their due diligence,” said Stewart Rabinowitz, a Dallas immigration attorney with the firm Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz.
LexisNexis Screening Solutions, Inc., a background check company, struck a five year deal with USVerify, Inc. in June 2006, where USVerify would provide electronic I-9 and E-Verify services. LexisNexis customers who contracted for those services received them through USVerify, and LexisNexis agreed to pay USVerify a fee.
In April 2011, LexisNexis sent USVerify a notice stating it would not be renewing its contract when the current one expired in June 2011. LexisNexis also sought to receive its customers’ I-9 data from USVerify after the contract expired. USVerify said that returning the data would be “additional work”, and that LexisNexis would be required to pay a fee to get the information back. USVerify also contacted LexisNexis customers directly to see if they would be interested in receiving its services.
As a result, LexisNexis filed a suit against USVerify to return its clients’ data and to cease and desist from disclosing any confidential information that US Verify still held.
This case raises compliance issues. LexisNexis customers appear not to have direct access to their I-9 data, which means that a LexisNexis customer would have been out of regulatory compliance because DHS I-9 regulations require the electronic storage system where the I-9 data is held to not be a part of an agreement or contract that could limit access to it.
“This litigation points out critical issues as to who owns and has unrestricted access to the data, and what procedures are in place for the employer to obtain backups of its data,” Rabinowitz said. “These and other issues must be satisfactorily addressed to assure that an employer can comply with any ICE Notice of Inspection without running afoul of DHS’ electronic I-9 regulations.”
Employers and companies who seek to outsource I-9 and E-Verify services must ensure their agreements comply with the strict guidelines in place, or risk potential DHS penalties.
Stewart Rabinowitz is President of Dallas-based Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. Mr. Rabinowitz is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. To learn more, contact a Dallas immigration lawyer or Dallas immigration attorney at Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C., call 1.972.233.6200 or visit http://www.rabinowitzrabinowitz.com.
Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C.
14901 Quorum Drive, Suite 580
Dallas, Texas 75254
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