Governor Bill Haslam has signed the Tennessee Lawful Employment Act (House Bill 1378) into law, and many private employers and all governmental entities are required by law to demonstrate that they are hiring and maintaining a legal workforce either by verifying the employment eligibility of all newly hired employees through the E-Verify program or by requesting all newly hired employees to provide one of the following identity and employment authorization documents:
- A valid Tennessee driver's license or photo identification
- A valid driver's license or photo identification from another state where the license requirements are at least as strict as those in Tennessee
- A birth certificate issued by a U.S. state, jurisdiction or territory
- A U.S. government issued certified birth certificate
- A valid, unexpired U.S. passport
- A U.S. certificate of birth abroad
- A certificate of citizenship
- A certificate of naturalization
- A U.S. citizen identification card
- A lawful permanent resident card
- Other proof of employee’s immigration status and authorization to work in the United States
The implementation dates for the new law are structured to occur in phases:
- January 1, 2012 - All state and local government entities and private employers with 500 or more employees must enroll and participate in E-Verify or request and maintain an identity / employment authorization document from a newly hired employee
- July 1, 2012 - All private employers with 200 to 499 employees must enroll and participate in E-Verify or request and maintain an identity / employment authorization document from a newly hired employee
- July 1, 2013 - All private employers with 6 to 199 employees must register and utilize E-Verify or request and maintain an identity / employment authorization document from a newly hired employee
It is EBI’s understanding that private employers with 5 or less employees are exempt from these new provisions. However, private employers with six or more employees to whom this law applies to must also collect one of the employment authorization documents types listed above for “non-employees” as well. The law defines “non-employee” as “any individual other than an employee, paid directly by the employer in exchange for the individual's labor or services.”
Additionally, the law specifies that employers must maintain records of results generated by the E-Verify program for three years after the date of the employee's hire or for one year after the employee's employment is terminated, whichever is later. Employers must also maintain records of any employment authorization documents for one (1) year after the employee or non-employee ceases to provide labor or services for the employer, whichever is later.In the event of any alleged violations of the law, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Services is authorized to request documentation establishing the employer’s compliance with the law, and the employer is required to supply the documentation within thirty days. If the Department determines the employer has violated the new law, a final order for violation of the law shall be issued and may include fines and/or business license suspension.
Contact EBI today to learn more about EBI’s employment eligibility solutions. EBI offers electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions to employers. EBI is a proud supporter and an approved designated Agent for the Department of Homeland Security.
Employment Background Investigations, Inc. is committed to providing employers with valuable education, news and resources around background screening, drug testing, occupational healthcare and employment eligibility. All content provided by EBI is published for the convenience of its readers and should never be deemed as legal guidance or advice. Always consult your legal counsel for specific advice on local laws and industry regulations.
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