We recently lost a high-volume client due to a service provider’s actions in setting an appointment location. The service provider didn’t expressly violate our policy, but his actions did highlight the need to clarify where you may set an appointment to complete Form I-9.
Our previous policy regarding appointment location was summarized in the “Invite to Quote” email:
“This service request may require travel to the employee’s location. While we encourage you to schedule a face-to-face meeting at a time and place that is mutually convenient, we expect you to make every effort to accommodate the employee, to include going to the employee’s residence. You may not require the employee to come to you.”
In the subject case, the service provider asked the employee to provide a date and time to meet. The service provider did not ask for nor suggest a location. The employee responded with a date and time; in a confirmation email, the service provider listed his residence as the meeting location. The employee questioned the location, then expressed reservations about meeting at the service provider’s home.
The service provider then asked the employee to propose an alternate meeting location but, by then, the damage was done. The employee’s trust in the service provider was weakened; the employee did not respond to the provider’s later attempts to set a location. Instead, the employee complained to her employer; our client.
While we wish that the employee had engaged in a dialog to select a meeting location, her refusal to meet at the service provider’s home was understandable. Our goal, with you as our partner, is not only to provide a service that is convenient and affordable, but one that is safe and secure for all involved. When our actions make a potentially uncomfortable situation worse, we all lose.
To that end, the following describes our new policy regarding the setting of an appointment location:
- The assignment will require that you travel to a meeting location;
- You must ask the employee to suggest the meeting location. You should not be the first to propose a location;
- If the employee asks you to suggest a location, you should suggest a mutually-convenient public location;
- You may not require the employee to meet at any specific location;
- You may not suggest your home, office or full-time place of employment as the meeting location;
- Except by mutual agreement, the meeting location must be within the service zip code or closer;
- If the employee suggests a location that is a greater distance than the service zip code, you are authorized to reply that the proposed location is outside of your service area and suggest a mutually-convenient alternate location;
- If the employee insists on a location outside of the service area (the service zip code or closer), contact us immediately;
- If the employee suggests meeting at his or her residence, you may accept or suggest a mutually-convenient alternate location;
- If the employee refuses an alternate location and insists on meeting at his or her residence, contact us immediately;
- There are no exceptions to this policy without our prior approval.
We will link to this policy from the “Invite to Quote” email. This policy becomes active when it is published in the “Invite to Quote” email; violations of this policy will result in permanent removal from our service provider database.
Time and date
We have also experienced a problem in a related area; the time and date of the appointment. Clients and employees have reported that service providers have insisted on meeting in the evening or on weekends only. This has resulted in forms completed past statutory deadlines, which could subject our client to penalties if targeted by a government audit.
The above situation usually happens when the service provider has a full-time job and is completing I-9s in their spare time. We do not prohibit this practice but we do severely down-rate providers when we discover that they have other employment or are repeatedly slow to complete assignments. Continued poor service will result in removal from the service provider database.