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February 8 2018

HR managers must manage gender transitions in the workplace very carefully

Five recent Form I-9 (Form I-9 is used for verifying the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in the United States) and E-Verify (E-Verify is a web-based system that allows enrolled employers to confirm the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States) updates will lead to changes in compliance procedures and processes for the upcoming year.

HR managers must manage gender transitions in the workplace very carefully, particularly in light of varying state laws and requirements. And although the Form I-9 is primarily an administrative process, some employers have sought guidance as to what steps should be taken when an individual informs an HR representative of a new name/identity (in order to avoid any perception of discrimination).

In its latest FAQ (dated November 7, 2017), the USCIS confirms that transgender name/identity changes should (in essence) be treated in the same manner as any other legal name change. Therefore, in the case of an existing employee who informs an HR representative of a transgender identity change, employers may (but are not required to) record the individual’s new name in section 3 of the Form I-9. While in the case of a rehire (or reverification of work authorization), employers are instructed to record the name in section 3 as per the instructions.