Beginning in 2023, employers in Tennessee with 35 or more employees will be required to use the E-Verify system to confirm the work authorization of their new hires and maintain the case results. The E-Verify system is an electronic database maintained by the federal government in order to allow employers to confirm the validity of documentation presented by new hires to establish their eligibility to work in the United States. However, the use of this system is not required under federal law, but it is required under some state mandates.
Since its passage in 2011, the Tennessee Lawful Employment Act (TLEA) has gradually phased mandatory E-Verify usage into effect. Beginning in 2017, the TLEA began requiring private employers with 50 or more employees to use the E-Verify system or perform certain other actions, including reviewing and maintaining certain documentation.
Now starting on January 1st, 2023, most Tennessee employers of 35 or more will be legally required to use the E-Verify system to verify new employees’ work authorization. So, for those who do not have experience using the E-Verify system, the time to start preparing is now.
There will also be a few more changes going into effect for Tennessee law beginning January 1st, 2023. This includes a provision that for employers with fewer than 35 employees and employers without internet access, the office of employment verification assistance can help enroll the employer in the E-Verify system or perform a work authorization status check.
Additionally, the law will now provide protection against state claims of wrongful or retaliatory discharge for employers that use the E-Verify system if an employee is found to be ineligible to work in the U.S., but the employer was unaware of the fact. Additionally, Tennessee’s law will state that workers do not have a cause of action under state law for discrimination based on national origin if an employer dismisses them consequent to the discovery through E-Verify that they are not authorized to work in the U.S.
For organizations with fewer than 35 workers, the use of the E-Verify system will not be required. It is still important to keep in mind that employment eligibility verification will still be required, and these records should regularly be reviewed and maintained properly from the time they are received. It is also important to remember that for the purposes of the state’s law, the number of employees counted for this requirement includes all employees working under a given Federal Employer Identification Number or EIN. This means that employers with less than 35 employees within the state of Tennessee but greater than 35, including those working out of state, will be subject to these E-Verify requirements.
The laws regarding E-Verify and the employment eligibility verification process are constantly shifting, and it can be difficult for employers to keep up. The best way to help ensure your business remains up to date is to invest in an electronic I-9 management system with E-Verify integration. This can help keep your company up to date with the latest regulations and ensure that your company remains compliant.
Automate your employment eligibility verification today with I-9 Compliance.