In Louisiana, a new law will allow the state to fine employers and suspend or revoke business licenses if it finds that an employer has employed unauthorized workers. The law provides a safe harbor to employers that properly use E-Verify. Importantly, the law does not indicate that the penalties will apply only to situations in which the employer knew or should have known that the employees were unauthorized workers. As written, the law could apply even to an employer that properly completes the Form I-9 and has no reason to suspect that a worker lacks employment authorization. Because this law imposes civil monetary penalties, employers can expect that it will be challenged in court and that the portion imposing fines may ultimately be struck.
For businesses that contract with state or local government entities in Louisiana, E-Verify will be mandatory. In order to enter into a new contract with a government entity in Louisiana on or after January 1, 2012, a business must show that it uses the E-Verify system. Failure to comply may result in cancellation of the contract, liability for breach of contract damages, and debarment from government contracting.