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Florida Employers Be Prepared, E-Verify An Issue Again


The Florida Legislature gave employers a break when it allowed the deaths of proposals to toughen rules for checking the immigration status of job applicants and employees. But this relief may be short lived. In May, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Arizona's E-Verify law. Now this law may become the blueprint for other states, including Florida.

The Supreme Court's decision — and political pressure — may lead the Legislature in 2012 to revisit bills that would require Florida employers to use the federal E-Verify system for new hires and would impose stiff penalties for failing to comply with the law.

In this limbo period, employers need to learn how E-Verify works. Employers and their attorneys also need to be familiar with the Arizona statute, which includes penalties for noncompliance that could effectively put companies out of business by suspending or revoking the business license.

Does your company comply with current immigration laws? Does your company have any legal exposure from current employees? Your business can conduct an internal audit or hire an outside expert. If these reviews show that your business could be violating the law, act immediately. Your company may need to change employment practices, correct employment documents that were improperly completed, and discharge unauthorized employees. By taking action now, your company can minimize future legal problems.

The bottom line is that every company should review its employment processes to confirm compliance with the immigration laws.

This article appeared in the August 31, 2011 edition of the Daily Business Review.


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