Formerly Executive Memorandum 92-102
Initially approved August 1, 1987
Revised June 1, 1992
Revised: December 12, 2016
Policy Topic: Personnel
Administering Office: Office of Human Resources and Payroll
As required by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, it is the policy of Western Carolina University (the “University”) to hire only those individuals who are legally eligible to work in the United States.
Western Carolina University verifies the identity and employment eligibility of each person hired, completes and retains a federal Form I-9 for each employee, and does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of national origin or citizenship. As required by State law, Western Carolina University also has a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration to electronically verify the employment eligibility of all newly hired employees using the federal E-Verify system.
The University completes a federal Form I-9 and conducts an E-Verify verification for new hires, as well as rehires following a break in service, including faculty, EHRA non-faculty professionals, SHRA staff, temporary employees, student workers and all other persons who perform labor or services in return for wages or other remunerations. This requirement applies to every person hired after November 6, 1986. Current employees who move from one position to another without a break in service are not subject to either the I-9 or E-Verify processes.
Foreign national non-immigrant employees at the University have employment eligibility until their current visa status expires, as noted on the Form I-9. At the time of expiration of their employment eligibility and visa status, foreign national nonimmigrant employees must have their I-9 form re-verified with new employment eligibility documentation. If such employees cannot produce acceptable employment eligibility documentation, employment must be terminated.
“employee” means an individual who perform services in return for wages or other remuneration paid by the University.
“E-verify system” means an Internet-based system operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration that allows an employer, using information reported on an employee’s Form I-9, to determine the eligibility of that employee to work in the United States (U.S.).
“Department of Homeland Security” (DHS) means the federal agency with primary responsibilities of protecting the territory of the U.S. from terrorist attacks, securing U.S. borders, enforcing immigration laws, and responding to natural disasters.
“EHRA” means employees who are exempt from the State Human Resources Act.
“I-9 form” means the employment eligibility verification form used to document that each new employee (both citizen and noncitizen) hired after November 6, 1986, is authorized to work in the U.S.
“SHRA” means employees who are subject to the State Human Resources Act.
A. Covered Individuals / Employment Eligibility Verification Process
The University verifies the employment eligibility of all newly hired employees by completing the I-9 form and using the federal E-Verify system. Only individuals who have completed appropriate I-9 and E-Verify training may access the E-Verify system, review documents, complete and monitor the I-9 process, and complete and monitor the E-Verify process on behalf of the University.
New employees must complete Section 1 of the I-9 form on (or before) the first day of work.
When employees are hired to perform work remotely (at a location other than the main Western Carolina University campus), the hiring department should contact the Office of Human Resources and Payroll before the employee's first day of employment to make appropriate arrangements to ensure compliance with completing the I-9 form.
The Office of Human Resources and Payroll (or other appropriately authorized entity), completes Section 2 of the I-9 form within three (3) business days after the employee's start date. The University representative must see original employment and identity documents which must appear to be genuine and relate to the person presenting them.
If a new employee cannot produce acceptable documents proving employment authorization and/or identity within three (3) business days after the date of hire to complete the I-9 process, employment must be terminated. The individual will be paid for any services rendered.
If the new employee's employment eligibility cannot be confirmed through the E-Verify process, the University may be obligated to terminate the employment relationship in order to comply with the Memorandum of Understanding.
B. Penalties for Failing to Comply with Employment Eligibility Verification
Since the University neither requires, requests, nor condones the employment of people for whom the I-9 form has not been properly completed, action which results in such a situation is not considered to be taken in the course of employment. As a result, the University may determine that any employment relationship created by a faculty or staff member with any person, including a work-study or temporary-wage student, that is not properly processed, is not an employment relationship involving the University. The relationship may be viewed as a personal employment relationship between the faculty or staff member and such person. In such a situation, the faculty or staff member will be responsible for paying any wages due from their personal funds. Furthermore, if the University is sued or fined because of I-9 violations, it may seek payment from the individuals responsible for the unauthorized activity as well as subject them to disciplinary action.
No matter how the University views a particular situation involving a newly hired worker, the Immigration and Naturalization Service has the authority to hold University employees directly and personally liable for failing to comply with employment eligibility verification procedures in the hiring process.
This policy shall be reviewed and revised as necessary in the event that related Federal or State regulations, policies, or procedures are updated.