E-Verify is an electronic employment eligibility verification program established by the U.S. government to ensure that companies and individuals with federal contracts employ only individuals with authorization to work in the United States. After much delay, E-Verify was finally implemented on September 8, 2009. For now, it only applies to specific types of federal contracts and subcontracts. However, because of the continued high unemployment and the current economic uncertainty in the United States, anti-immigrant sentiment has intensified. As a result, the individual states are trying to curtail unauthorized employment by promulgating their own laws directing employers to use E-Verify.

The states with the strictest laws requiring all employers, public and private, to verify the work authorization of new hires using E-Verify are Arizona, Mississippi, South Carolina and Utah. The states that apply E-Verify to public employers and employers with state contracts are Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Virginia. After Illinois’ law prohibiting its employers from using E-Verify was struck down, the state amended The Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act to require employers participating in the E-Verify program to certify several actions, including, the receipt of training materials, the posting of a notice of enrollment in E-Verify and anti-discrimination notices.

Because E-Verify laws vary greatly from state to state a detailed review of the individual state’s specific requirements is necessary to ensure full compliance with the law. Should you require advice on whether your business is compliant with federal and state employment eligibility verification laws, including the proper Illinois certification procedures and maintenance and preparation of the federally mandated Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9), be sure to contact your relationship attorney.