Do you use E-Verify? Is it mandatory in your state? Here’s a story about how one honest employer got blindsided by the program.
The case revolves around the use of E-Verify, the federal program that matches new hires with government records, such as Social Security Numbers – and whose use is required in states like Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Attempting to follow the law, a flower wholesaler in North Carolina used E-Verify to ensure all new hires were legally permitted to work in the United States. Note: Verification can be done only after the applicant is hired.
The result: After hiring and training employees in a highly seasonal business, the company had to fire 60 of them who couldn’t meet the E-Verify standard. The Catch-22 is that although employers aren’t required to use E-Verify in most states, if you do use it and uncover an illegal worker, you have to fire that worker.
So, what happened to the employer and the 60 workers?
- The employer got caught short in high season and suffered a loss of business, and
- The speculation is that the 60 fired employees went to work for competitors who don’t use E-Verify or hire off the books.