Compliance News Flash - June 2020 #2

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has once again extended its flexibility regarding the physical presence requirement of the Form I-9. Employers operating 100% remotely in light of COVID-19 are not required to review an employee’s identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence (as is required for purposes of section 2 completion of the Form I-9). Originally set to expire on May 19, 2020 and previously extended until June 18, 2020, the agency’s enforcement flexibility has been extended for an additional 30 days such that it will now expire on July 19, 2020. Once normal operations resume, employees who were on-boarded during this time must report to their employer within three business days for in-person verification of the document(s) presented for section 2 of the Form I-9. Also, it is important for employers to understand that although the in-person requirement is currently waived if operating remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Form I-9 must still be completed within three business days of hire and this waiver of the physical presence requirement is limited in duration.

  • After already suspending approval of green card requests to immigrants abroad seeking permanent residence in the United States, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has also apparently placed a “general hold” on green card applications filed by those living in the United States.Applications of medical providers and applications that concern an “emergent or sensitive matter” will continue to be considered. USCIS says the hold on processing green card applications from current U.S. residents stems from the temporary suspension of in-person services during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that its current priority is to resume naturalization ceremonies..

  • In a landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 vote that employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Court’s four liberal justices were joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Neil Gorsuch to form the majority. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, religion, national origin and sex. At issue before the Court was whether prohibiting discrimination on the basis of “sex” also prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and general identity and expression, with the Court finding in the affirmative. The majority writes, “[a]n employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids." Click here to read the decision and click here to read AGG’s recap. FULL BRIEF