E-verify Not Mandated in California

October 24, 2011

On October 9, 2011, Governor Brown signed AB 1236, a California law that prohibits state, city, county, and/or special districts from requiring an employer to use an electronic verification system to determine an employee’s authorization to work in the United States.

The new law takes aim directly at the E-Verify program established by the United States Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration.  E-Verify is an electronic database that can be utilized by employers throughout the country on a voluntary basis to verify whether the employees they are hiring are authorized to work in the United States.  E-Verify traces its roots to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, and subsequently to the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, which authorized the creation of the program.  E-Verify is now administered primarily by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services department.

The new California law is based on the position that requiring employers to use E-Verify would increase a company’s cost of doing business in California during a difficult economic climate.  The bill does say, however, that mandatory use of E-Verify is still possible through a subsequent federal law or if the mandate is a condition to the state, city, county, or special district receiving federal funds.  In addition, companies may still choose to use E-Verify should they feel it is of assistance in their employee management processes.

If you have any questions about E-Verify, how to implement it in your workplace, or what the law may mean to your business, please contact Brad Bjelke.

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