Employers in Eastern States on Alert: E-Verify Effective 2013
Over the last few years, many state and local legislatures have passed laws mandating private and public employers enroll in the federal E-Verify Program in order to verify newly hired employees post-enrollment. You can access our E-Verify State Legislation Map here. For small “mom and pop” shops, E-Verify may be a fairly straightforward process since verifying employment eligibility may rest with a few individuals. However, for employers that employ tens, hundreds, or even thousands of employees, and particularly employers in industries where employee turnover is high and multiple hiring sites are involved, the actual processes to review the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), enroll, undergo training, and finally initiate cases in E-Verify can be time consuming (not to mention the time involved in working with employees to resolve tentative non-confirmation issues). Come January 1, 2013, employers in four different Eastern states will find that they can no longer put off the inevitable. E-Verify will become mandatory!
Though many larger employers in the state have already been subject to the new law, smaller, private employers in the state of Georgia with 11-99 employees must E-Verify all new hires on or before July 1, 2013. Private employers with 10 or fewer employees are exempt from this law. This marks the final phase for employers to enroll and use E-Verify as part of Georgia’s Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011 (House Bill 87).
On January 1, 2013, private employers with 100 or more employees (but fewer than 500 employees) must use E-Verify for all new hires pursuant to Session Law 2011-263 (House Bill 36).
In early July, we were the first to report in detail Governor Corbett’s signing of Senate Bill 637 mandating all public works state contractors (and subcontractors) enroll and use E-Verify for new hires. [It was exciting as I had contacted the Governor’s office directly to get the details.] Act No. 127 becomes effective January 1, 2013 for all state public works contractors and subcontractors with state public works contracts worth $25,000 or more.
Tennessee’s Public Chapter No. 436 law, which mandated employers use E-Verify as early as January 1, 2012, enters its final phase of application beginning January 1, 2013. All private employers with 6 to 199 employees must enroll and begin using E-Verify to verify its new hires no later than January 1, 2013, or, in the alternative, verify employment eligibility by reviewing and retaining copies of specific types of documentation. (More details available here.)
Are you an organization that fits into one of the above categories that has not already enrolled? [Don’t worry, we won’t tell.] It may help to spend the next two months to explore with immigration counsel what your rights and responsibilities will be under the MOU terms for E-Verify. As for legal penalties for failing to comply with state E-Verify laws, please read more details here on our legislation map. The LawLogix I-9 and E-Verify Blog is updated on a weekly basis by our attorneys. Subscribe to our blog for regular news and industry updates.