Should Employees Provide Phone Numbers, Email Addresses on Form I-9?

Should Employees Provide Phone Numbers, Email Addresses on Form I-9?

"The federal government’s updated employment verification Form I-9, which went into use on May 7, 2013, includes two new optional fields in Section 1 calling for the new hire’s personal e-mail address and telephone number.  The fields are at the beginning of the new Form.

New employees routinely complete these additional fields.  And why not?  After all, this is a government form and there are spaces calling for the information!  However, the instructions on the Form for completing these fields make clear the information is not required.  They state:

E-mail Address and Telephone Number (Optional): You may provide your e-mail address and telephone number.  Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may contact you if DHS learns of a potential mismatch between the information provided and the information in DHS or Social Security Administration (SSA) records.  You may write “N/A” if you choose not to provide this information.

The question employers should ask is why would the government want that information?

The answer is plain ... and concerning for employers.  This information can facilitate the government’s contacting employees, without the employer’s knowledge, during audits or investigations to inquire about the company’s verification compliance practices.  Questions asked by recruiters and managers in hiring, employer requests for forms of identification and work authorization in connection with completion of the Form I-9, and the method (electronic or manual) of completing the Form may be the subject of government inquiries to employees." - Sean Hanagan, Kevin Lashus, and Roger Kaplan, Dec. 19, 2013.