North Carolina Joins States Requiring Employers to Enroll in E-Verify

The North Carolina Legislature passed a bill that requires all private employers with more than 25 employees to use the federal online E-Verify program to verify the employment authorization of newly hired employees. The bill, HB 36, was passed on June 18, 2011, and was signed into law by former Governor Beverly Perdue on June 23, 2011. E-Verify is a free internet-based system that allows employers to determine employment authorization by checking an employees’ documentation against Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration databases. Employers enroll in E-Verify here.

This new E-Verify law required North Carolina counties and cities to register and participate in E-Verify by October 1, 2011. Private sector employers hiring temporary seasonal employees for 90 or fewer days during a 12-month period are exempt from the law. All other private sector employers’ participation in E-Verify is being phased in according to the employer’s size:

- Employers with 500 or more employees were required to participate by October 1, 2012;

- Employers with 100 or more employees were required to participate by January 1, 2013; and

- Employers with 25 or more employees will be required to participate by July 1, 2013.

Businesses will not be required to verify the employment eligibility of current employees unless the employer has been awarded a federal contract on or after September 8, 2009 that contains the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause.

Civil penalties for violations of North Carolina’s E-Verify law are assessed by the NC Commissioner of Labor upon issuance of an order. For a first violation, within three days of its receipt by the employer, the employer must file an affidavit that, after consultation with the employee, the employer has proceeded to request a verification of work authorization through E-Verify. For a second violation, the employer must file the same affidavit and pay a civil penalty of $1,000, regardless of the number of missing employee verifications. For a third and any subsequent violation, the employer must file the same affidavit and pay a civil penalty of $2,000 per missing employee verification. Thus, for the third and any subsequent violation, the employer must pay a civil penalty of $2,000 for each missing verification. Failure to file the required affidavit for any violation also carries a penalty of $10,000.

The federal government has added E-Verify Self-Check which permits an employee or prospective employee to check his or her employment eligibility, just like an employer would when it uses E-Verify. E-Verify Self-Check also provides information to the employee on how to correct any problems. The E-Verify Self-Check website can be found here.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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