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Newsletter Issue 20


Practical Approaches
to Resolving EEO/AA Problems
Issue #20
 
June 2008 RPLMRI Newsletter for Clients and Friends


During the past months there have been more substantive changes in EEO regulations than we have experienced for some time. Each of them affect the manner in which we carry out some of our employment actions with special attention to how we maintain and utilized our employment actions record keeping system. In this letter we will discuss two major programs, E-Verify and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. Additionally we are including a reminder on the changes in the EEO-1 Report.

E-Verify

This system for verifying a personís right to work in the US has taken on a life of its own. The great majority of US citizens wants the southern border closed now and insists that serious methods for identifying and deporting illegals be developed and implemented. The E-Verify program is designed to simplify the process and increase the accuracy of identifying illegals.

E-Verify (formerly the Basic Pilot/Employment Eligibility Verification Program) is an online system operated jointly by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration (SSA). Participating employers can check the work status of new hires online by comparing information from an employee's I-9 form against SSA and Department of Homeland Security databases. More than 69,000 employers are enrolled in the program, with over 4 million queries run so far in fiscal year 2008.

The E-Verify program is free and mandatory for Federal contractors and subcontractors. For other contractors the system is free and voluntary. It is the best means available for determining employment eligibility of new hires and the validity of their Social Security Numbers.

For Employers

E-Verify is a voluntary program for all employers, with the exception of federal contractors. Companies can access E-Verify online and compare an employee's I-9 Form information with over 444 million records in the SSA database, and more than 60 million records in Department of Homeland Security immigration databases. E-Verify is an essential tool for employers committed to maintaining a legal workforce, and the number of registered employers is growing by over 1,000 per week.

For Federal Contract Employers

As of June 9, 2008, President George W. Bush has amended Executive Order 12989. This now directs all federal departments and agencies to require contractors, as a condition of each future federal contract, to agree to use an electronic system to verify workers' employment eligibility. In response to this Executive Order, Secretary Michael Chertoff designated E-Verify as the system of choice.

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)

With the rapid growth of our technical knowledge, it comes as no surprise that our genetic makeup would be the subject of much study with the result that genetic characteristics could be identified and the possibility of foreseeing future physical or mental problems that may develop in a personís future life. Some of the identifiable future problems could well be diseases or other conditions that will cause grave illnesses and serious financial expenditures. If the insurance industry, for example, could access such information and use it to deny individuals insurance coverage it would be a colossal financial boon for them. This law protects citizens from such abuse by prohibiting the use of this information for such purposes.

On May 21, 2008, President Bush signed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) into law. GINA, which will take effect in 18 months, prohibits discrimination on the basis of genetic information, and makes changes to numerous laws.

Specifically, GINA prohibits: (1) employers from failing to hire, discharging, classifying or segregating, or otherwise discriminating against an employee because of genetic information; (2) employment agencies from failing to or refusing to refer an individual for employment; (3) labor organizations from excluding or expelling a member on the basis of genetic information; (4) employment or labor organizations from causing an employer to discriminate against an employee in violation of GINA; and (5) retaliation against employees alleging violations of GINA or participating in the investigation of alleged violations.

GINA also makes it unlawful for an employer to request, require or purchase an employee's genetic information, except in limited circumstances. These circumstances include: (1) compliance with family and medical leave laws; (2) genetic monitoring of the effects of toxic substances in the workforce; and (3) DNA analysis for law enforcement purposes at a forensic laboratory.

Under the terms of GINA, employers possessing genetic information about employees must keep the information confidential and maintain it in separate files. GINA also prohibits employers from disclosing genetic information except (1) to the employee upon request; (2) to a health researcher; (3) as directed by a court order; (4) to a government official investigating compliance with GINA; or (5) in connection with federal and state family and medical leave act provisions Genetic Information Discrimination

I-9 Forms:

In our last news letter we gave the updated version of the I-9 reporting system and included a copy of the new format that must be dealt when completing this reporting record. In case this information has been lost you can go to the following websites to find this information.

I-9 Form Ė http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/I-9pdf

Handbook for completing the Revised I-9 Form is found at: http://aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=23820 http://search.live.com/results.aspx?srch=105&FORM=IE7RE&q=New+Revised+I-9+Handbook

If you have any questions please give us a call.



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