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Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, all businesses in the state of Tennessee with 50 or more employees are required to use the E-Verify system to determine whether their new hires are authorized to work in this country.
 
E-Verify is an internet-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration that electronically verifies employment eligibility of new hires by searching for their names and social security numbers in its database.
 
Prior to Jan. 1, businesses in the state with six or more employees were only required to keep copies of employee driver’s licenses or employment authorization documents to prove that they were legal to work in the U.S.

How Did the Penalties and Requirements Change?

In addition to being required to utilize the E-Verify system, employers in Tennessee also face additional scrutiny if they fail to abide by it, such as:
 

  • Additional penalties for companies that fail to use E-Verify
    Companies that are caught not utilizing the E-Verify system while hiring employees are now subject to a $500 penalty every day that they fail to use it or fail to provide an affidavit of undue hardship.
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  • Shortened number of days to remedy non-compliance
    In addition to facing penalties, companies will also have fewer days to rectify findings that they were non-compliant with E-Verify. Previously, companies had 60 days to comply, but they now have only 45 days.
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  • Increased fines for repeat offenders
    To cut down on the number of business owners who found it acceptable to simply pay a one-time fee of $500 for hiring unauthorized workers, the new E-Verify law will increase penalties up to $2,500 for repeat offenders as well as a $2,500 fine per occurrence.