Illinois Legislature Passes Bill To Prohibit Voluntary E-Verify Use By Employers

Illinois Legislature Passes Bill To Prohibit Voluntary E-Verify Use By Employers
May 24, 2023

The Illinois legislature recently passed Senate Bill 1515 and has sent it to the Governor to sign. Should the Governor sign it, the bill would amend Illinois’s Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act (820 ILCS § 55). For example, it would mandate employers follow a specific procedure when taking adverse action against a worker.

The bill concerns adverse action after employers receive a notice from an employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) system, such as E-Verify, about discrepancies. Examples of discrepancies include the worker’s name or listed Social Security Number (SSN). In addition, the Amendment protects employees affected by such disparities.

The specific procedure mentioned by SB 1515 concerns employers using electronic systems to verify workers’ employment eligibility, such as E-Verify. Examples of these rules include the following:

  • Employers cannot voluntarily enroll in E-Verify or a similar verification program unless required by state or federal law.
  • Upon notification of discrepancies from the Social Security Administration concerning an employee’s SSN and name in the Administration’s records, employers must:
    • Supply the worker:
      • The deficient documents and why they are deficient,
      • Instructions that explain how to fix the deficient documents,
      • An explanation of the worker’s right to have representation when verifying or re-verifying their employment eligibility, and
      • An explanation of any other rights an employee might have concerning the process of verification or re-verification
    • Give the employee at least 30 days of unpaid leave to allow them to fix any verification discrepancy.

Employees affected by the discrepancy found by a state or federal agency will have the following rights:

  • A choice of which work authorization documents they will present to their employer for verification or re-verification
  • The right of representation by counsel during discussions, proceedings, or meetings with the employer

Employers who receive a notification from a state or federal agency concerning a remedied discrepancy must do the following:

  • Give the employee back their prior position with the same level of seniority, salary or compensation rate, or benefits
  • Not consider the discrepancy when making future decisions concerning promotions or continued employment

It remains uncertain whether the Governor will sign SB 1515. While waiting, employers should prepare for the chance it becomes law. They can do this by reviewing policies concerning the employment eligibility verification process. Unfortunately, employers often find Form I-9 regulations confusing, mainly because they constantly change, as demonstrated in SB 1515. The best way to ensure correctly submitted Form I-9s is by using an electronic I-9 management system. This system will guide employers through the process, store the forms and documentation, and send alerts when necessary.

Ensure compliance today by switching to an electronic I-9 management tool with I-9Compliance.