Mandated Use of E-Verify Continues Upward Trend

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While most organizations have a sound Form I-9 employment eligibility program in place, many do not include E-Verify checks. However, given the increased trend of federal, state and local regulations requiring its use, organizations should plan for and be prepared to include it in their employment eligibility verification process. While E-Verify is currently a voluntary program (in most instances), businesses are signing up at a rapid pace, and more should consider its use as new legislation makes it likely that your organization could become impacted.

One thousand new businesses sign up for E-Verify each week, while states, counties and even cities, tired of waiting for bogged-down federal legislation, are implementing their own E-Verify requirements.  In many states, only companies with federal or state contracts are required to use E-Verify.  This is true in the states of: Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Rhode Island.

Many of these states also require E-Verify be used by public employers such as local governments and state agencies, while some states, such as North Carolina and Virginia (beginning in 2012), require E-Verify for public employers but not contractors. Perhaps most impactful to many companies, however, are the states that require E-Verify of nearly all employers in the state, with a few exceptions such as number of employees and alternative verification methods. These currently include Arizona, Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey have recently joined the movement of state governments toward requiring the use of E-Verify. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed two pieces of legislation relating to E-Verify and the bills are currently in the state senate. Not only do these bills require all state contractors and subcontractors to verify the status of new employees through E-Verify, they also require this verification of all construction industry employers. In New Jersey, if the legislation passes, all employers with 100 or more workers must ascertain the E-Verify status of all new employees. Like Pennsylvania, the New Jersey bills provide for random auditing and compliance-driven investigations.

The trend to E-Verify is even reaching to the city level. Large and small cities – from Denver, CO to Murrieta, CA and Oklahoma City, OK to Mission Viejo, CA – have implemented or are considering requiring use of E-Verify. The list is growing rapidly, and all employers should keep abreast of their own local requirements.

Despite the lack of definitive federal legislation, every organization should consider the use of E-Verify for their company. Chances are, the day may be coming when it will be required.

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