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SHRM Launches Coalition on Employment Verification

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Under the leadership of SHRM, leading human resource (HR) organizations and thousands of U.S. employers from every sector have launched a national advocacy campaign to ensure that any immigration reform legislation includes an effective employment verification system.

The coalition, known as The Human Resource Initiative for a Legal Workforce (“HR Initiative”), is seeking major improvements to the current employee verification system designed to curtail illegal immigration by improving the security and reliability of the verification information available to employers.  The existing system is inadequate because it relies on paper documents that can be stolen or falsified.   

“Effective, state-of-the-art verification is the most essential part of any immigration reform,” said Susan R. Meisinger, President and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management.  “It is the only way to prevent fraud and ensure a safe, legal and fair workplace.”

Employers face significant challenges under today’s verification system.  On the one hand, they are responsible for verifying employees’ identity and work authorization documents.  On the other hand, they risk government sanctions for civil rights violations if they are too aggressive in their scrutiny.  An accurate and efficient national electronic database for employers to check potential employee eligibility is non-existent in today’s workplace.

In consultation with an expert group of HR professionals assembled with input from SHRM members, the HR Initiative coalition has developed the following five principles to be included in any employment verification system:

1: Shared Responsibility Among Government, Employers and Employees – Employers, employees and the federal government should share responsibility for a reliable, efficient, accurate system to verify employment eligibility. 

2: Fair Enforcement – Employers should be liable for their own hiring decisions, not those made outside their control.

3: Accuracy and Reliability – Employers should not be forced to participate in a program until the government provides assurances that the system is accurate and reliable.

4:  Ease of Use – A new verification system should be easy to understand and implement at all worksites.

5: Deployment of Latest Technologies – A new verification system must make false documents and identity theft ineffective.  One way to achieve effective and efficient worksite enforcement is to include biometric identifiers or other state-of-the-art technology in the work authorization process that is capable of automatically recognizing an individual’s identity.

The HR Initiative coalition founding members are the Society for Human Resource Management, American Council on International Personnel, College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, HR Policy Association, and the International Public Management Association for Human Resources.

For more information about this advocacy effort, please access the HR Initiative website.

For more information about these and other public policy issues, please visit
©2007 Society for Human Resource Management



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