The New E-Verify Twist to State Construction Contracts

Remember last week when protesters chained themselves together in front of the Governor's Mansion?  It turns out this new law was about more than identification documents as it also included a new E-Verify requirement for all state construction contracts.  Because life wasn't complicated enough already. 

The new §143-133.3 & E-Verify Compliance

A new section is added to Chapter 143 of the North Carolina General Statutes that says the State (which is inclusive of all governing bodies, political subdivisions, or institutions) may not enter into a contract UNLESS the contractor and all subcontractors comply with North Carolina E-Verify requirements.   If money is paid to a contractor or subcontractor in violation of this section, the state officer or employee that approved payment AND the sureties on the official bond will be liable to the amount disbursed.  

The Commissioner of Labor (a.k.a. the face that graces every elevator a.k.a. Cherie Berry) is charged with handling complaints related to state contract-related E-Verify problems.  It looks like the usual fun stuff applies like a good faith reporting requirement and an investigation process that may end in a hearing. 

If I were drafting state construction contracts, I would make sure the contract has a term that states all parties within the contractual chain will comply with North Carolina E-Verify laws.  Why you may ask?  Because the presence of such a contract provisions means you are, by statute, in compliance with the new  law. (See how this may be handy).  If I were a contractor or subcontractor in the contractual chain with the State. I would also include this provision so that I too will be deemed in compliance with this requirement.  #FreeAdviceMondays

North Carolina's E-Verify Law

This is the part of the blog where I remind you that employers in North Carolina with 25 or more employees must E-Verify all new hires.  This is a lot of you so make sure you are doing it.  The penalties for violating this law can be up to $10,000 per violation which can add up really fast if you have a lot of unverified new hires.   Also, you don't have to have 25 or more employees to participate in E-Verify.  In fact, I recommend all employers voluntarily participate. 

SIDE NOTE:  Make sure you are retaining records of verification while the employee is employed AND for one year thereafter. This isn't me being OCD, this is the law in North Carolina. 

SIDE NOTE 2.0:  E-Verify results can be used as a defense if you are ever audited by DHS, USCIS, or ICE and an employee turns out to be in the U.S. unlawfully.  In other words, E-Verify is a great supplement to your I-9s. 

SIDE NOTE 3.0:  If you ever E-Verify a new hire and you get a Tentative Non-confirmation alert ("TNC"), talk to an HR specialist or your attorney.  There is a very particular procedure you must follow (depending on which agency documents are at issue) and it can be very tricky, particularly if you have an HR Department of one

SIDE NOTE 4.0:  E-Verify rules are different for Federal Contracts.  HINT:  Federal requirements are more strict with more severe penalties.