Tennessee Lawful Employment Act Requiring E-Verify Use by Employers Passes House

Amended with a provision that allows businesses to use a driver’s license as proof the employee is legally eligible to work in the United States, the ‘Tennessee Lawful Employment Act’ (SB 1669 – HB 1378) – a bill that would make employers check new hires using the government’s E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system – passed easily in the House and the bill will be taken up by the Senate at any time, the WPLN Nashville (TN) Public Radio website reported.

Co-sponsored by Senator Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) and Representative Joe Carr (R-Lascassas), the bill originally required the employment eligibility of all new hires to be cleared through E-Verify, a free on-line federal government program that checks information on the Form I-9 against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) databases to verify if a person is legally eligible to work in the United States.

Although the bill was changed to give companies the option of using a driver’s license instead of the E-Verify employment eligibility verification system, Representative Carr told WPLN that the change would not weaken the Tennessee Lawful Employment Act since companies relying on the driver’s license instead of E-Verify would not be protected from fines if they turn out to be wrong. The bill exempts small companies with five employees or less.

A Designated E-Verify Employer Agent such as Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a nationwide background screening provider accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – can help employers comply with E-Verify requirements. To learn more about E-Verify services from Employment Screening Resources, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php.

More information about the ‘Tennessee Lawful Employment Act’ (SB 1669 – HB 1378) is available at: http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/BillInfo/default.aspx?BillNumber=SB1669&GA=107.

About Employment Screening Resources (ESR): Founded in 1997 in the San Francisco Bay area with a mission to help employers and employees maintain safe workplaces, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) and wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by founder and President Lester Rosen. For more information about ESR, visit http://www.ESRcheck.com or email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at tahearn@ESRcheck.com.