The Details on Tennessee’s Revised E-Verify Regulations

February 9, 2023

E-Verify is a web-based program that helps employers confirm the documentation their employees present to verify their employment eligibility. Federal law only requires federal contractors to use E-Verify. However, some states have laws regulating its use. Tennessee is one of these states and has begun requiring all private employers with 35 or more employees to use this program starting on January 1, 2023.

To use E-Verify, enrolled employers use the information provided on an employee’s completed employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) to create a case in the program. After submitting a claim, the program will quickly check this information using records from the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. However, there are some cases where an employer may need additional action. The employer can close the case after E-Verify gives a final result.

Tennessee first passed legislation concerning E-Verify in 2012, requiring most employers to review and maintain certain identification documents or use E-Verify. Following this law, Tennessee passed the Tennessee Lawful Employment Act (TLEA) in 2017. It required all employers in Tennessee to show that they hired legal employees and maintained a legal workforce if they had 50 or more employees.

As of January 1, 2023, Tennessee added several new provisions. For example, private employers with 35 or more employees must use E-Verify. In addition, employers with 35 or fewer employees and no internet access can receive assistance if they want to use E-Verify. Interested employers may have the Office of Employment Verification Assistance enroll them online or conduct work authorization checks.

Furthermore, the provisions would protect all employers using E-Verify from state claims of retaliatory or wrongful employee discharge. Specifically, it protects employers who proved unaware of an employee’s ineligibility to work in the United States. As such, employees cannot claim discrimination due to national origin if E-Verify reveals they lacked the authorization to work, which caused their termination.

Employers in Tennessee with fewer than 35 employees do not have to register. Regardless, these employers must confirm the employment eligibility of their employees. Furthermore, as of January 1, 2023, employers with more than 35 employees under the same FEIN must use this program for their employees in Tennessee. This requirement applies even if only part of the team works in Tennessee.

E-Verify is a very effective way to confirm the employment eligibility of your employees. However, employers still need to complete Form I-9 for employees before creating a case through the program. The best way to do this is with an electronic I-9 management tool that offers E-Verify integration. This tool can guide employers through employment verification and safely store the forms for retrieval.

Streamline your hiring process with an automated employment eligibility verification and ensure compliance today with I-9 Compliance.