Does Your Tennessee Business Need to Use E-Verify?

Date: July 17, 2018



If your business has been confused about what Tennessee state law requires when it comes to the E-Verify system, this update is for you.

As of Jan. 1, 2017—due to an update to the Tennessee Lawful Employment Act (TLEA) passed in 2011—all Tennessee employers with 50 or more employees must use the E-Verify system to verify that their workers are eligible for U.S. employment. Previously, employers had a choice of compliance options; now employers of this size must use E-Verify. If a staff member was hired on or after Jan. 1, 2017, E-Verify must be used for them. This applies to employees working in or outside the state of Tennessee, and if the employer fails to use E-Verify, they could receive a $500 civil penalty per day of noncompliance (or more for repeat offenses).

Employers with between six and 49 employees are required to either use E-Verify for workers hired on or after Jan. 1, 2017, or request and retain I-9 documentation from each employee. I-9 documentation includes:

  • Tennessee driver’s license or photo id license issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety
  • Valid driver’s license or photo id license issued by another state where requirements for licensure are at least as strict as those of Tennessee (the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development will prepare and maintain a list of such states on the department’s website)
  • Official birth certificate issued by a U.S. state, jurisdiction or territory
  • U.S. government-issued birth certificate
  • Valid unexpired U.S. passport
  • Report of birth abroad of a citizen of the U.S.
  • Certificate of U.S. citizenship
  • Certificate of naturalization
  • U.S. citizen identification card
  • Valid alien registration documentation or other proof of current registration recognized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Employers with fewer than six employees are not required to use E-Verify in Tennessee.

The TLEA also applies to “non-employees,” or those who not employed directly but are paid directly by the employer for labor or services.

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Related Content: Small Business News | Economy | Tennessee

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