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What are my rights as they relate to E-Verify?

Ask anyone who's actively searching for a job, and he or she will tell you that the process is exhausting. That's because there are postings to search, resumes and cover letters to prepare, and several rounds of interviews to attend.  

Given this uphill climb, those who get a phone call or email offering them a good position with solid benefits should take some time to celebrate their accomplishment. They should also take some time brushing up what the future holds as it relates to employment verification.

Under federal law, employers are required to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all new employees -- both citizens and non-citizens -- within three days of their hire. This is accomplished by completing a document known as the Form I-9, which must be filled out for each new employee.

Each new employee, in turn, is required to furnish their new employer with the necessary documentation establishing both their identity and their ability to work in the U.S.

Once a Form I-9 is filled out, the process doesn't end there. Indeed, many employers are required by state or federal law to run it through the E-Verify system, a sort of database established by the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.   

E-Verify will transmit information to the SSA and the DHS (for a non-citizen), with both agencies determining if the information supplied by a new hire matches government records and indicates no hiring restrictions.

It's important for anyone whose information is being run through E-Verify to understand and appreciate that they have certain designated rights:

  • The employer must inform employees of its participation in E-Verify via posting of the necessary notices
  • The employer can only use E-Verify after an offer has been made to and accepted by an individual, meaning it cannot be used as a pre-screening tool for applicants.
  • The employer may only use E-Verify for new hires, not those currently employed by the organization
  • The employer cannot selectively use E-Verify, it applies to all hires regardless of citizenship status or national origin  
  • The employer cannot use E-Verify as a tool to discriminate against new hires based on citizenship status or national origin  

We’ll continue this discussion in our next post, exploring what the rights and responsibilities of new hires are if E-Verify reveals some manner of mismatch between agency records and the data they supplied on the Form I-9.  

If you have questions or concerns related to E-Verify, or other immigration-related employment matters, please consider speaking with a skilled legal professional who can provide answers and pursue solutions. 

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