New Year, New Law: Florida’s New Mandatory E-Verify Law

December 11, 2020Legal Alerts

Effective Jan. 1, 2021, Florida law will require all public employers, as well as some private employers, to enroll in and use the E-Verify system. 

What is E-Verify?

E-Verify is a free federal electronic database that allows employers to quickly validate documentation presented by new hires to establish that a new employee is lawfully eligible for employment in the United States. 

Who is impacted?

Public employers, including local school districts, public universities and colleges, and state and local agencies, and their private contractors. Additionally, private employers will now be required to maintain documentation if they do not use E-Verify.

What is required? 

All employers are currently required and will continue to be required to complete and maintain I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms for the duration of the employee’s employment and for at least one year from the date the employee is terminated or three years from hire, whichever is later, under the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. 

Public employers and their contractors and subcontractors must enroll with and use E-Verify to confirm work eligibility of all new hires.  They cannot enter into a contract with another party unless the party registers and uses the E-Verify system. 

Subcontractors to a public contract must provide the contractor with an affidavit confirming that the subcontractor does not employ, contract with, or subcontract with undocumented people. 

The new law requires a party to a public contract to terminate the contract if it has a good-faith belief that another party to the contract is employing an unauthorized person or is not enrolled with and using E-Verify. 

Private employers are not required to register with or use E-verify unless they contract with a public entity or they apply for taxpayer-funded incentives through the Department of Economic Opportunity. They may, however, still enroll and use E-Verify.

Private employers who do not use E-Verify, as of Jan. 1, 2021, will be required to maintain copies of the documents used to complete form I-9 for three years from the employee’s start date for any employees hired on or after Jan. 1, 2021.

When is it Effective? 

The law is effective Jan. 1, 2021. 

What to do?

Public employers and their contractors and subcontractors must enroll in E-Verify, update all policies and procedures to comply with the law and ensure all employees impacted have been trained and know how to use E-Verify by Jan. 1, 2021.

Private employers must decide if they want to enroll and use E-verify. If so, enroll in E-Verify, update policies and procedures regarding E-Verify and train employees accordingly. Review and revise I-9 compliance policies and practices to ensure they accurately reflect the changes in the law. Lastly, ensure compliance by regularly auditing procedures and records.

What are the consequences of noncompliance?

Among other things, failure to comply could result in suspension or termination of business licenses.

If you have any questions please contact the author or your Dinsmore attorney.