Identity Crisis

Today was my third day at my Brand New Job. At this job, I get to be in a high security area, which means badges, a whole mess of keys and restrictions on objects you can bring in/out. The job is filled with colorful characters, and I’m already developing a stash of stories to tell.

This is one of them.

Though this story doesn’t deal with the colorful individuals that are the consumers at this social service agency (ie. forensic ward at a hospital.) This story deals with the people in Human Resources that fail to understand what proof I need for being eligable for employment.

Let’s back up. As with most jobs at most places (and every job at every place I’ve worked) I was required to fill out a stack of papers for things such as my mandatory sign up for the Union (AFL-CIO), retirement benefits, confidentiality agreement, W-4 and the ubiquitous I-9. The I-9 is the form that proves your eligability to work in the U.S. and requires you to submit documents to prove this. Usually these documents are in the form of a lone U.S. passport (my document of choice) or two other documents combined, usually being the state ID or Driver’s License and a Social Security Card. I’ve gotten out of the habit of carrying my SS card with me on a regular basis, so given that one document, my Passport, should suffice, that is what I choose to bring.

My coworker warned me that it may not be enough. There is, however, no document in the packet that requires any documentation aside from the aforementioned. So, I told her, I should be fine.

Apparently the HR people don’t understand what the I-9 requires. The first woman I spoke to was determined that I should have my Social Security card included in the file, despite none of the information I was handed stating that to be the case. I told her that according the the form, my passport was all that was required. She didn’t take that as an answer and referrerd to her coworkers. Another woman came to me and read over the I-9, with me pointing out to her that my passport was sufficient. She looked over it in a very bureucratic, matter of fact way, reading the headers and eventually stating that (well, I can only interpret what she said for myself) I was correct. She then requested my Driver’s License. I asked her what form stated that she needed my Driver’s License. She looked at me and said she didn’t understand what I was talking about. I then said to her, “What form can you show me states the requirement that I give you my Driver’s License to photocopy?” She said she would have to look into it, and was getting this aire of “I’m so leaving this conversation now!” She then mumbled something about how they needed it in case they have to prove my residency, update where I live, because they get reports… blah blah blah.

Given the fact that I’m shitty at updating my own address for my Driver’s License, I don’t know how that would do them one bit of good.

Besides, they already have my SSN on numerous documents already. They could try to get my credit report if they *really wanted.* Also consider I already authorized a criminal background check in order to take the job.

They do NOT need any more forms of ID and they were unable to give me any information stating as to why they needed additional ID.

This all happened in front of my coworker, who is training me. I later explained to her, after I got the “Well, we’ll contact you if we need more information.” crap from the HR people, that in the end, this was a fight for civil liberties.

Maybe not really, but that’s what it felt like. I mean, there was no documentation there that they could give me that required any more information than they already had.

I believe it’s my right to withhold that information if i so choose.

As it is, they know a lot more about me than I likely do about myself.

I’m just waiting to see if I don’t get my paycheck on payday because of this. 🙂 This could get fun!

[comments turned off 08/05/09 due to spam]

3 thoughts on “Identity Crisis

  1. From what I remember of working in HR departments, the drivers license is a government-issued photo ID that proves that you’re you (well, in theory anyway). The passport trumps this.

    I don’t remember if you’re required to show your Social Security card; they probably should. (BTW, your SSN should NOT be on your drivers’ license.) They’ll definitely ask in cases where you have a funny accent and thus may not obviously be a US citizen/allowed to work in the US.

  2. re: bibliofile

    My SSN is not on my DL. The I-9 form doesn’t require anything but either List A (in my case, a passport) or items from List B and C (DL, SS card). No where on the form does it state that it requires more than a passport once the passport has been submitted. No where does it say on any additional forms that a social security card is required.

    The thing is, requesting ID that has specific legal backing (like the I-9), it’s perfectly legal in that case to request those identifying items, and perfectly legal for me to choose which items to submit. Unless they have a legal reason that they can submit to me (in writing) that proves that I have to surrender such documents, they have no right (afaik) to require me to surrender those documents. To do so would be an illegal search.

    Perhaps an accent or non-white skin or whatever would constitute probable cause for the government. I think that’s pretty shady.

    Especially as government is more than happy to try to assert power through fear and intimidation through requiring nail-clippers to be confiscated at airports and your *rubber soled shoes* be removed to go through the metal detectors. These things don’t make people safe, but give an illusion of safety, and show the gov’t flaunting its power. Same goes for rumored proposals for random ID checks (some of which have taken place, I know the ACLU is working on a case re: a woman who refused to submit her ID during one of these random searches). I’m not saying my HR dept is part of a gov’t conspiracy, but merely that the more people that assert their 4th amendment rights, I think the better off we’ll all be.

    I think a lot of people still surrender information freely without a thought as to whether or not they are exercising freely their rights to

  3. well, if you live in MA, your SSN IS your Driver’s License Number, so you have no option on if the number is on there or not.

    Its also my college student ID number, so its on my student ID too.

    *shrugs* I gave up trying being concerned about my SSN being on stuff cause its just too stinking hard to get it off of everything. I understand why its important, and I give people who do take the effort tons of credit. I just dont have the effort in me to worry about it, so i try not to think about it too much. In other words…. im lazy.

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