Georgia Department of Agriculture Failed To Use E-Verify for Employment Eligibility Verification

An audit has revealed that the Georgia Department of Agriculture failed to register to use the federal E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system until April of 2012 to check if newly hired employees were eligible to work in the United States when use of the database was required by state law of public employers since 2007, according to a report by the Associated Press (AP). The story from AP is available at http://www.gpb.org/news/2013/01/05/dept-of-agriculture-failed-to-use-e-verify.

The AP reports that a Department spokeswoman said the personnel office had not been using the E-Verify system as required but that all new hires at the Georgia Department of Agriculture were now being checked. E-Verify is a free an internet-based program that compares information from ‘Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification’ that all newly hired workers fill out to government records in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) databases. For more information, visit http://www.dhs.gov/e-verify.

As previously reported by the ESR News blog, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed into law a stringent immigration bill – Georgia House Bill 87 (HB 87) ‘Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011’ – that also requires private employers in the state with more than 10 employees to check the immigration status of new hires using E-Verify. HB 87 phased in mandatory E-Verify usage:

  • Private employers in Georgia with 500 or more employees must use E-Verify for new hires on or before January 1, 2012.
  • Private employers in Georgia with 100 or more employees but fewer than 500 must use E-Verify for new hires on or before July 1, 2012.
  • Private employers in Georgia with between 11 and 99 employees must use E-Verify for new hires on or before July 1, 2013.
  • Private employers in Georgia with 10 or fewer employees are exempt from the law.

The full text of Georgia House Bill 87 (HB 87) ‘Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011’ is available at http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/display/32190.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 made it unlawful for an employer “to hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien.” Federal law requires every employer hiring an individual for employment in the U.S. to verify his or her identity and employment authorization through completion of a Form I-9. In an attempt to improve the employment eligibility verification process, the U.S. Congress created a pilot program in 1996 that went national in 2003 and was expanded and renamed E-Verify in 2007.

Background screening firms such as Employment Screening Resources (ESR) may act as an employer’s authorized Designated E-Verify Employer Agent to help employers comply with E-Verify/Form I-9 regulations, eliminate errors, improve accuracy, and maintain a legal workforce. The ‘ESR Designated E-Verify Employer Agent Page’ includes access to an E-Verify Legislation Map that presents a detailed and up-to-date summary of all active and proposed E-Verify laws at the city, county, state, and federal level. This interactive map helps employers navigate the ever-changing landscape of employment verification requirements. To access the map, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/formi9.php.

While participation in E-Verify is still voluntary for many businesses in the United States, employers with federal contracts or subcontracts that contain the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause must use the system. E-Verify usage is also required by law in several U.S. states, and the list continues to grow. On January 1, 2013, new E-Verify laws took effect in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee requiring many private employers to register for and begin using E-Verify.

The trend of states making their own laws for E-verify and adding to the already confusing patchwork of regulations for employers to follow to maintain legal compliance was Trend Number 7 of the 6th Annual ‘ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2013.’ The full list of trends is available at http://www.esrcheck.com/Top-Ten-Background-Check-Trends-for-2013.php.

For information about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority’ and nationwide background screening firm accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – at http://www.esrcheck.com/ or call Toll Free 888.999.4474.

Sources:

http://www.gpb.org/news/2013/01/05/dept-of-agriculture-failed-to-use-e-verify

http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/2011/05/16/georgia-governor-signs-immigration-enforcement-law-requiring-use-of-e-verify-for-employment-eligibility-verification/

http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/2012/12/18/new-e-verify-state-laws-for-2013-will-add-to-already-confusing-patchwork-of-regulations-for-employers/

About Employment Screening Resources (ESR):

Founded by safe hiring expert Attorney Les Rosen in 1997, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check AuthoritySM’– provides accurate and actionable information that empowers employers to make informed hiring decisions for the benefit of their organizations, employees, and the public. CEO Rosen literally wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual” and ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percent of screening firms. Employers choosing ESR know they have selected an agency meeting the highest industry standards. To learn more about ESR, visit http://www.esrcheck.com or call toll free 888.999.4474.

About ESR News:

The Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News blog – ESR News – provides employment screening information for employers, recruiters, and jobseekers on a variety of topics including credit reports, criminal records, data privacy, discrimination, E-Verify, jobs reports, legal updates, negligent hiring, workplace violence, and use of search engines and social network sites for background checks. For more information about ESR News or to send comments or questions, please email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at tahearn@esrcheck.com. To subscribe to the ESR News Blog Feed, visit http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/feed/. To subscribe to the complimentary ESRcheck Report monthly newsletter, please visit http://www.esrcheck.com/Newsletter/.