On January 1, 2013, new E-Verify laws will take effect in Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee requiring many private employers to register for and begin using the federal E-Verify electronic employment eligibility verification system. This trend of states making their own laws for E-verify, an internet-based program that compares information from Form I-9s to government records to confirm that newly hired or current employees are authorized to work in the United States, only adds to the already confusing patchwork of regulations for employers to follow to maintain legal compliance. This is Trend Number 7 of the 6th Annual ‘ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2013’ available at https://www.esrcheck.com/Top-Ten-Background-Check-Trends-for-2013.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 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. The new E-Verify laws that will take effect on January 1, 2013 include the following states:
- Georgia: Georgia House Bill 87 (HB 87) ‘Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011’ requires smaller companies or organizations with 11 to 99 employees to use E-Verify all job applicants before July 1st 2013, while companies with 10 employees or less are exempt. Larger companies with 100 or more employees have already been subjected to HB 87 and this is the final step for employers enrolling and utilizing E-Verify as part of Georgia’s Illegal Immigration Reform and Enforcement Act of 2011.
- North Carolina: The North Carolina General Assembly passed E-Verify legislation with Senate Bill 32 (SB 32), “An Act To Require Counties, Cities, And Employers To Use The Federal E-Verify Program To Verify The Work Authorization Of Newly Hired Employees,” requiring private businesses employing more than 100 people and fewer than 500 people to register for and begin using the E-Verify system on January 1, 2013. Employers with 25 or more employees will be required to use E-Verify to check work authorization for all new hires beginning on July 1, 2013.
- Pennsylvania: In Pennsylvania, Act No. 127 (formerly Senate Bill 637), The Public Works Employment Verification Act, requires all public works contractors and subcontractors with the state to enroll in and use E-Verify for newly hired employees beginning January 1, 2013 – but only if the project is worth $25,000 or more.
- Tennessee: The Tennessee Lawful Employment Act (TLEA) that took effect January 1, 2012 and requires employers to verifying the employment eligibility of all newly hired employees begins its final phase as companies employing more than 5 persons must register and begin using E-Verify by January 1, 2013. This means that all private employers with 6 to 199 employees must enroll and use E-Verify to validate its new hires by this date. The TLEA requires all employers in Tennessee to show they are hiring and maintaining a legal workforce either by enrolling in and using the E-Verify program or requesting all newly hired employees and “non-employees” to provide certain identity and employment authorization documents. The amendment is Public Chapter No. 436.
- Alabama: According to ‘The Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act’ (H.B. 56), every Alabama business – regardless of size – had to enroll in E-Verify by the April 1, 2012 deadline to be in compliance with the law or else they could lose their licenses for failing to abide by the law.
- Georgia: Under HB 87, the second phase of the law requires private businesses in the state with 100 or more employees but fewer than 500 employees to use the E-Verify system by July 1, 2012.
- North Carolina: Under SB 32, employers with 500 or more employees were required to use E-Verify beginning October 1, 2012.
- Virginia: Virginia House Bill 737 (HB 737) required agencies of the Commonwealth of Virginia to enroll in the E-Verify program by December 1, 2012, and to use the Program for each newly hired employee who is to perform work within the Commonwealth. HB 737 also requires state contractors entering into a contract of more than $50,000 with any Virginia agency, and have averaged 50 or more employees for the previous 12 months, to register and participate in E-Verify by December 1, 2013.