United States: Tennessee adopts mandatory E-Verify law

Tennessee has approved a law making E-Verify mandatory for all employers with 50 or more employees, effective Jan. 1, 2017.

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Key provisions:

  • Employers with 50 or more employees must use E-Verify to verify the work authorization of employees hired on or after Jan. 1.
  • Penalties for violations start at $500 plus $500 per employee for a first offense and increase for second offenses ($1,000 plus $1,000 per employee) and third offenses ($2,500 plus $2,500 per employee).
  • Employers found in violation will have 45 days (instead of the current 60 days) to remedy a non-compliance order.

Background: Under the current Tennessee Lawful Employment Act, employers may choose between enrolling in E-Verify or following specified document retention requirements. The amendments to the Act will eliminate this choice and mandate E-Verify, exempting only employers with fewer than 50 employees.

E-Verify is a federal database that allows participating employers to confirm the work eligibility of new hires. It is voluntary under federal law for employers that are not federal contractors. Though the majority of states do not require employers to use it, as of last year, nine states require E-Verify for all employers of a certain size and 11 states require the use of E-Verify by public employers only.

BAL Analysis: Tennessee employers should enroll in E-Verify as early as possible and review their documentation and policies to make sure they are fully compliant. Enrollment instructions can be found on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact BerryApplemanLeiden@balglobal.com.

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