The San Francisco Chronicle does the work the L.A. Times couldn’t be bothered to do:
Lawyers said an employer’s obligation upon receiving a no-match letter from the Social Security Administration is to check their own records for typographical or other errors, inform the employee that the records do not match and tell the employee to correct them.
“There is no additional legal obligation for an employer to follow up or respond to SSA with new information,” said Gening Liao, a labor and employment attorney at the National Immigration Law Center in Los Angeles, which defends immigrants.
The lawyers repeated the warnings in the letter that taking action against the illegal employee could have subjected Whitman to a lawsuit.
That this Is the case doesn’t make it right.
There are two issues here.
The more urgent issue is political: to clarify that Whitman did absolutely nothing wrong under the law — even if she saw the letter. Which, there is zero evidence that she did.
The larger issue is what this all reveals about the federal government’s lax approach to handling a mismatch. It is wrong that the federal government doesn’t require the employer to tell the Feds: hey, I know you say there is no such number on file . . . but that’s the number on her Social Security card.
Whitman’s opponents couldn’t care less about this issue, even as they cynically try to hang the controversy around Whitman’s neck.
We must take the opposite view. We should defend our candidate against the false attacks — but also ask: why is the federal government so lax when evidence emerges that an employee is illegal?
And what can we do to change it?