Florida recently enacted significant legislation related to employee immigration verification. Senate Bill 1718 (the “Bill”), signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis on May 10, 2023, makes the use of E-Verify mandatory for any private employer with 25 or more employees , imposes penalties for those who employ undocumented persons and improves penalties for human trafficking. Previously, only Florida public sector employers were required to use E-Verify. Beginning July 1, 2023, all private sector employers in Florida with 25 or more employees are required to use E-Verify to confirm the work authorization status of newly hired employees.
The bill defines “private employer” as any person or entity that transacts business in Florida, has a license issued by an agency, and employs people to perform work or services in Florida for wages, salary, or other remuneration. Employers who meet this definition and employ at least 25 employees (anywhere, not just in Florida) must use E-Verify and certify compliance when making contributions to or reimbursing Florida’s unemployment compensation or reemployment assistance system .
Covered employers must retain copies of documents supporting employment eligibility verification for three (3) years. Employers must also provide copies of such records upon request to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Attorney General, the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), the state attorney, or the state attorney for the circuit in which the newly employed employee works. hired. If the DEO determines that an employer failed to use the E-Verify system as required three (3) times in any 24-month period, the department will impose a $1,000.00 daily penalty until the violation is remedied. The DEO can also revoke business licenses and require repayment of any economic development incentives if it finds that an employer knowingly employed a person who is ineligible to work in the United States. The sanctions will take effect on July 1, 2024.
PRIVATE EMPLOYERS – NATIONWIDE
It should be noted that Florida is not the only state that requires private employers to use E-Verify. The following states also have E-Verify requirements for private employers:
- Alabama: All employers are required to use E-Verify.
- Arizona: All employers are required to use E-Verify.
- Georgia: All employers with 10 or more full-time employees must use E-Verify.
- Mississippi: All employers are required to use E-Verify.
- North Carolina: All employers with 25 or more employees must use E-Verify.
- South Carolina: All employers are required to use E-Verify.
- Tennessee: All employers with 35 or more employees under the same FEIN must use E-Verify.
- Utah: All employers with 150 or more employees must use E-Verify.
Employers with only remote workers in one of the above states (and Florida) must determine if they are a “private employer” under specific state law and subject to E-Verify requirements for their remote employees.
Employers who will be newly covered by the Florida E-Verify requirement should review their obligations as soon as possible. With July 1, 2023 (the compliance date) just over a month away, employers need to ensure that their hiring processes comply with the new requirements. Additionally, private employers with remote employees should review the E-Verify requirements in all states in which they have employees and ensure compliance.