South Carolina’s 2008 law requiring employers to take additional steps to verify the work status of newly hired persons is in the process of being implemented (see the June 4, 2008 issue of the South Carolina eAuthority for a review of the law). The law’s requirement that employers either participate in E-Verify (the electronic employment eligibility verification system operated by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) or review an approved driver’s license or state-issued identification card of newly-hired employees is being phased in. Currently private employers with 100 or more employees are subject to the additional verification requirement. After some initial aggressive enforcement tactics last summer, the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulations (LLR) has settled into a more defined process for auditing compliance with the law (see the September 28, 2009 issue of the South Carolina eAuthority).
More recently, reports indicate that LLR has been steadily auditing businesses and processing tips from the public about possible violators, with nearly 90 audits being performed in the month of January. Over 30 of the audited businesses were cited for violations. Fines for non-compliance have been issued including one for $42,500. However, the penalties are waived for a first-time violation and if corrective steps are immediately taken by affected employers. The audits will likely continue as the law is expanded to include all businesses on July 1, 2010. Employers are reminded to review current verification procedures to ensure compliance with not only federal law but also state law.