Federal law requires federal contractors to use an internet-based program called E-Verify. This program makes it easier for employers to confirm the employment eligibility of their employees. However, some states have established laws requiring certain employers to use E-Verify. For example, Tennessee. Its most recent revisions require all private employers with at least 35 employees to confirm employment eligibility for employees through E-Verify.
To use the program, the initial step is to complete the Form I-9 process for employment eligibility verification. Upon completion, employers may proceed to create a case within the E-Verify system, which will evaluate the provided information. E-Verify then cross-references the inputted data against the records maintained by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Social Security Administration. In most instances, case results are promptly generated, although certain smaller cases may necessitate additional measures. Employers may ultimately close the case following E-Verify’s notification of the final results.
In 2012, Tennessee enacted legislation mandating that the majority of employers in the state utilize E-Verify or review and retain specific identification documents. The Tennessee Lawful Employment Act (TLEA) was followed in 2017 and required all employers with a minimum of 50 workers in Tennessee to establish their legally maintained workforce.
As of January 1, 2023, a modified version of the E-Verify laws has come into force, requiring only 35 employees to use the program. The updated regulations also encompass exemptions, such as the enrollment of employers lacking internet connectivity into the Office of Employment Verification Assistance or the allowance of work authorization checks to be conducted.
The law affords protection to E-Verify users, shielding them from allegations of wrongful or retaliatory dismissal by an employee who was not authorized to work in the United States but remained undetected by the employer. In such cases, employees cannot assert a claim of discrimination based on national origin if the employer learned of their lack of work authorization through E-Verify and subsequently terminated their employment.
Per the revisions, Tennessee employers with 35 or fewer employees are not mandated to utilize E-Verify. Nonetheless, they must verify the eligibility of their employees for employment. However, if a Tennessee employer has 35 or fewer in-state employees but exceeds 35 employees under their Federal Employer ID Number (FEIN), they must utilize E-Verify. This includes all employees under their FEIN, including those based in other states.
E-Verify allows employers to easily and quickly confirm their employees’ work authorization. To use E-Verify, employers must first complete Form I-9 for all employees. The easiest way to achieve this and verify employees’ work authorization is by using an electronic I-9 management tool that offers E-Verify integration. This tool can guide employers through employment verification and securely store the forms and accompanying documentation for easy retrieval.
Contact Us for more information on JDP’s I-9 Compliance solution or to Request a Demo.
Information provided here is for educational and informational purposes only and should not constitute as legal advice. We recommend you contact your own legal counsel for any questions regarding your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.