It’s easy to get lost when navigating what to do with I-9s during a merger or acquisition. Do you absorb the previous company’s forms? Do you start from scratch and create new forms? Like the answers to most complex questions, it depends. When a company is discussing a potential merger or acquisition, a team should be assembled with individuals from various departments, including HR, to conduct the necessary activities that are part of the due diligence process. For HR, reviewing the other company’s I-9s is critical.
A qualified HR professional should audit the I-9s to determine if existing forms should be absorbed or new forms should be created before the sale or merger agreement is signed. If this step is completed, HR will be able to outline the necessary onboarding activities and provide proper communication before new employees arrive.
The Form I-9 is a legal document that is required by law to be completed properly. If done incorrectly and audited, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can issue substantive violation penalties ranging from $220 to $2,191 per form.
During the review, HR should audit a sample of forms and evaluate all fields for any errors or omissions. For example:
At the end of due diligence, HR would generally make a business case to either absorb the I-9s or create new forms.
With over 50 years of combined human resource knowledge and experience, P&N can partner with your HR team to assist with completing the critical HR activities as part of the due diligence process. Our HR consultants can help you 1) assess I-9s using a sample set, 2) determine a game plan for handling I-9s, and 3) provide training to ensure your HR team understands how to complete I-9s properly to avoid fines and penalties.