Do you have a duty to follow up on a rumor?

yesterday i was debating with a colleague at another company about the issue of whether you have a duty to follow up on a rumor that an employee is in this country illegally. he heard a rumor that a employee who emigrated from italy had entered in a sham marriage to get immigration papers. should he investigate? does the law require that je investigate or report it to immigration?


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  • I'm not sure you have a "duty" to follow up on a rumor since if you followed up on every rumor, you'd be doing nothing but that.  The bigger issue is knowing whether or not th employee has legitimate working papers.  How he got those papers is none of your business as long as they are authentic.  It's an INS issue  and if you are truly concerned, then you should contact them with the issue.  Additionally, people like to talk about others entering into strange agreements to stay in the country.  This could be that or it could be something worse.  If it's keeping your friend up at night, then he should contact the INS to find out what to do.
  • I agree with efeldman.  I don't think you have a duty to follow up as long as the company has done what they are supposed to when the person was first hired.  If the company followed all of the guidelines related to filling out the I-9 and viewing the appropriate documentation then you should be good to go.  If he is worried, then maybe now is a good time to conduct an I-9 audit on all of your employees to make sure you are in compliance, should the government ever come in and want to take a look at your documentation.



  • I heard a rumor that an employee was picking his nose - do I have a duty to follow up? 
    Okay - I'm being facetious, but you get the idea.  I'm not going to spend my day chasing after rumors.  I understand your concern of this being something illegal, but unless you have more than just grapevine talk, I would leave it on the grapevine.
  • We need to know more about what the courts are going to say about this "constructive knowledge" business.  For now, my thought is that if your paperwork appears to be genuine and pertain to the person who used it to demonstrate identity and right to work, then you are covered.  Now, if the documents look like poorly constructed counterfeits and you let them pass, that's another story.
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