Florida Employment Eligibility Requirements
November 9th, 2020 | Angela Preston, Senior Vice President and Counsel, Corporate Ethics and Compliance with Ryan Hannan, Compliance Associate
Beginning January 1, 2021, Florida employers will be required to take additional steps to verify the eligibility status of new employees. SB 664, An Act Relating to the Verification of Employment Eligibility (the ‘Act’) establishes obligations for employers in Florida which include the use of E-Verify, a web-based system which matches Form I-9 information against records with the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security.
The Act requires all public employers, contractors, and subcontractors to register with and use the E-Verify system to confirm the work authorization status of all newly hired employees. Public employers, contractors, and subcontractors are further prohibited from entering into a contract unless each party is registered with and using E-Verify. In addition, subcontractors must provide affidavits that they do not employ, contract with, or subcontract with ‘unauthorized aliens’ (the statutory language for an undocumented worker), which contractors must retain for the duration of their contract. If either party to the contract has a good faith belief that the other is employing an ‘unauthorized alien’, they must immediately terminate the contract, which will not be considered a breach. If a public employer terminates a contract under this provision, the contractor may not be awarded another public contract for at least one year.
Private employers must similarly verify employment eligibility for individuals after they accept offers of employment using E-Verify or alternatively by maintaining the same documentation provided by the employee to complete the Form I-9, which the employer must retain for at least three years. These requirements do not extend to existing employees unless they are a contractor in which case they must be verified upon renewal or extension of their contract. Upon request, employers must provide the documentation relied upon for determining employment eligibility to the Department of Law Enforcement, Attorney General, State Attorney, and Statewide Prosecutor. Employers who are found to be out of compliance are required to provide an affidavit within 30 days to the Department of Economic Opportunity that they will henceforth comply, that they have terminated all unauthorized aliens in the state, and that they will no longer knowingly or intentionally employ unauthorized aliens in the state. Failure to provide such an affidavit will result in suspension of all applicable licenses. Employers with three violations within a 36-month period will have their applicable licenses permanently revoked.
Florida employers should review their screening and onboarding practices in light of the Act and consult with their legal counsel on how to best proceed. Sterling clients who would like to learn more about our Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions should contact their account representative.
The information contained herein is for informational purposes only. Clients are encouraged to consult with their legal counsel on the impact of this new law. Sterling is not a law firm, and none of the information contained in this notice is intended as legal advice.
This and other important legislative updates can be found on the Sterling website: Compliance Updates page
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