On June 30, 2020, Florida joined the growing number of states to pass a version of a mandatory E-Verify statute.
Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation that will require all public employers, including local school districts, public universities, and colleges, and state and local agencies, as well as their private contractors, to use E-Verify, a federal electronic database intended to aid employers in confirming against federal databases that the documentation provided by new hires to establish lawful employment eligibility are in fact valid.
This will require changes in employers’ hiring to some extent beginning January 1, 2021.
Florida public employers and those who bid on public contracts should be ready to comply with the new law by updating their onboarding and new hire practices.
Private employers who choose not to use E-Verify should continue to complete and maintain I-9 verification records, including copies of the documents that were reviewed. The enforcement procedures under the new E-Verify mandate are significant, and failure to comply with the law could result in suspension or termination of business licenses.
Moreover, additional government scrutiny at both state and federal levels of employment verification records is possible when the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. Employers should be prepared by periodically auditing their employment verification records to ensure they have been completed fully and properly.