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By Kelly Eisenlohr-Moul
E-Verify is now mandatory for every Georgia employer with more than ten employees. Below are five tips addressing the most frequent mistakes made by E-Verify users:
1. Display the mandatory “Notice of Participation” and “Right to Work” posters. Employers enrolled in E-Verify must display the correct English and Spanish posters in a prominent space, visible to employees.
2. Only E-Verify new hires. E-Verify may not be used to pre-screen potential employees or before Sections 1 and 2 of the Form I-9 have been completed. Use only for new employees (unless you are a federal contractor).
3. Understand the tentative non-confirmation process. Employees whose I-9 information does not match that in federal databases must be given at least eight (8) federal working days to contest the TNC. They must be allowed to work their regularly scheduled hours during this time. Failure to follow this protocol may result in an I-9 and E-Verify audit by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or the Office for Special Counsel (OSC).
4. Be wary of E-Verify Photo Matching. E-Verify contains a photo matching tool that is triggered when a potential employee provides permanent resident card (Form I-551), Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766B), or a US passport or passport card. This applies only if your employee voluntarily provides these documents. In January of this year, a South Carolina company paid $250,000 in fines for treating work-eligible non-U.S. citizens different from U.S. citizens through use of E-Verify photo matching.
5. Establish a process to double-check all sections of the Form I-9. Administrative oversights and errors, such as an employee’s failure to sign Section 1, an employer’s failure to complete the Form I-9 no later than 3 days after hire, and the employer’s failure to sign Section 2 have all been deemed “substantive” violations, resulting in stiffer penalties. Although an employee may be appropriately e-verified, this does not mean that his or her Form I-9 was completed properly.