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Do I have to E-Verify?


HR Best Practices blog series

Navigating the world of HR can be overwhelming—period. That’s why we’ve created a blog series to answer common HR questions. To help answer each question and define best practices, we have three HR heroes with very different approaches to HR: Bythe Booke, Sam Blackheart, and Peggy Prag. You may find yourself relating to one (or more) of our heroes depending on the given situation. To see full descriptions of each character, reference our first blog of the series using this link.

Last time we covered, “Do I have to classify some employees as hourly?” Now, let’s see what Bythe, Sam, and Peggy have to say about our next question.


Form I-9 is a document that must be completed by every employee in the United States that is used to confirm employee eligibility to work in the U.S. The Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) of 1986 requires employers to review Form I-9 for each new hire in order to verify each new hire’s identity and authorization to work in the U.S.

E-verify is an online system that compares information contained in an employee I-9 to federal record bases. Employers often use E-verify to confirm with certainty that their employees are eligible to work in the United States.


Is there a law and/or regulation?

Employers in the U.S are not federally required to E-Verify. There are, however, two exceptions:

  1. Federal contractors operating under contracts including the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) E-Verify clause must E-Verify.
  2. Employers under the jurisdiction of state E-Verify laws must E-Verify. Check your state’s E-Verify laws.

Is there a risk of a lawsuit?

There is no risk of a lawsuit for failure to use E-Verify unless required by the FAR E-Verify clause or state law.

Employers who knowingly hire employees who are not authorized to work in the United States could be subject to a lawsuit if discovered. Sometimes, employers choose E-Verify to prove that due diligence was taken when reviewing Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.


What is the cost of compliance?

There is no cost of compliance. The government does not charge employers to use E-Verify, so employers who use E-Verify can do so for free. Some employers hire an E-Verify employer agent to conduct the E-Verify process on their behalf. E-Verify employer agents may charge for their services and/or expertise.


What is the risk of bodily harm?

There is no risk of bodily harm.


What is the risk of negative public relations?

The risk of negative public relations is low.


Is there risk of jail time? 

There is no risk of jail time. 


What would our HR Heroes say is the best practice?


Bythe Booke: E-Verify doesn’t cost us anything, so we use E-Verify for every employee I-9. It’s unlikely that we would hire an unauthorized worker, but it doesn’t hurt to double check.




Sam Blackheart: We review each new hire’s I-9 documentation in person and do not knowingly employ unauthorized workers. I don’t see the need to E-Verify if we’re not legally obligated to — let’s pass on it if we can.


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Peggy Prag: We simply don’t have the extra bandwidth to add another layer of complexity to HR. Let’s forgo E-Verification for now if we’re not legally obligated to do it.



Have a question you’d like to see our heroes answer next? Let us know in the comments section below!

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