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FAILED BAIRD NOMINATION STANDS AS LESSON TO PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYERS

 CLEVELAND, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Every employer -- whether a business looking to increase its staff or a private individual such as Zoe Baird looking for domestic help -- is required to assure that any person they hire is authorized to work in the United States.
 In a situation like Baird's, whose recent nomination to attorney general failed because of criticism of her hiring of illegal aliens for domestic work, private citizens are no different from businesses in their requirement under the law to assure their employees are authorized to work in the U.S., according to Mary E. Reid, a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group of the Ohio law firm of Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff whose practice focuses on immigration law.
 There are a number of steps business operators should take if they are planning to hire someone who is not a U.S. citizen, according to Reid. They are:
 -- Ask job applicants if they are authorized to work in the United States. It is considered discriminatory to ask whether an applicant is a U.S. citizen, but it is not discriminatory and is even necessary to assure employees have the appropriate authorization to work in the United States. Employers should ask what the authorization is, meaning whether the applicant is authorized by citizenship or an employment visa.
 -- Determine the position's prevailing wage and be sure the employee, if a non-citizen, is paid at least 95 percent of it. The Department of Labor can assess fines and penalties for underpayment as a deterrent to unfair compensation.
 -- File appropriate documents if the employee is not a citizen or a permanent resident. That may include completing certain paperwork for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, even if the employee has a visa, or assisting the employee in obtaining a visa. Additional documentation also must be filed with the Department of Labor if the employee does not have a visa, and this process may include showing that there were no citizens available to fill the position.
 -- Maintain a "ticker" system to be sure that all follow-up visa requirements are met. Certain documents must be revalidated every 24 months.
 An additional complication to the process of hiring an alien is the fact that the Immigration Act of 1990 brought on a comprehensive overhaul of U.S. Immigration law, and the regulations by which the act is carried are constantly changing, according to Reid. "This is making it difficult for employers to determine proper procedures, fees and documentation necessary to obtain alien employment authorization," she said.
 The best rule of thumb, Reid said, is to move cautiously and with proper legal guidance. Though the chance to become attorney general of the United States may not be at stake, substantial fines and penalties that most businesses can ill-afford may be.
 -0- 1/29/93
 /EDITOR'S NOTE: Mary E. Reid is available for interviews at 216-363-4198 or 216-231-8723/
 /CONTACT: Cathy Petryshyn, director of marketing, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff, 216-363-4407 or 216-886-1524, or Tammy Whitehouse of Wirtz Public Relations, 216-376-7115 or 216-929-8624, for Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff/


CO: Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff ST: Ohio IN: SU:

BM -- CLSA100 -- 1062 01/30/93 09:19 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 30, 1993
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