Tennessee Department of Labor Conducting E-Verify Audits
We have recently received information from Tennessee employers indicating that the
Tennessee Department of Labor has begun enforcement of the Tennessee Lawful Employment
Act, which went into effect in January of 2012. Under this act, employers with
over 6 employees must either use E-Verify, or make and retain copies of one of
11 documents specified in the act. The list of documents includes, 1) A TN driver’s
license, 2) a valid driver’s license issued in another state where the issuance requirements
are at least as strict as those in TN, 3) a birth certificate issued by a state, jurisdiction
or territory, 4) a U.S. Govt. issued birth certificate, 5) a valid, unexpired U.S.
passport, 6) a U.S. certificate of birth abroad, (DS-1350 or FS-545), 7) a report
of birth abroad of a citizen of the U.S., (FS-240), 8) a certificate of citizenship,
(N560 or N561), 9) a certificate of naturalization, (N550, N570, or N578), 10) a U.S.
citizen identification card, (I-197 or I-179), and 11) a valid alien registration
document or other proof of current immigration registration.
Private employers with 500 or more employees should have been in compliance
with this law as of January 1, 2012. Those with between 200-499 employees should
have phased in this requirement as of July 1, 2012, and those employers with between
6-199 employees have until Janaury 1, 2013 to institute either of these processes. It
is also important to note that the DOL states that in determining the number of employees,
the employer must count ALL employees, regardless of whether or not they are
physically in Tennessee.
The state requires employers to retain document relating to this law for 3 years after
the date of employment or 1 year from the date of termination, whichever is later.
(Mirroring the I-9 retention period)
The law spells out significant penalties for those employers failing to comply.
Such penalties include civil fines of $500-$2500 per unverified employee, depending
on whether or not the employer is a repeat offender. In addition, possible suspension
of business licenses and inclusion on a DOL maintained publicly accessible list is
Some uncertainty remains regarding the enforceability of fines under this law, in
the wake of last year’s Supreme Court decision on Arizona’s law, but employers will
not want to take the chance that they can slide through. Any employer with a
presence in Tennessee and over 200 employees needs to comply with this law as soon
as possible if they have not already done so.
Employers can find further information on the TN Department of Labor Website.
This weblog is sponsored by TALX.
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