Along with Alabama and Tennessee, three other southern states have introduced new immigration legislation starting in 2012. While broadly similar, there are some differences, as mentioned below.
Georgia’s new immigration law, HB 87, is another broad piece of legislation that provides for state and local enforcement of immigration laws. With regards to E-Verify, HB 87 requires all private employers with ten or more employees to use E-Verify to confirm the employment eligibility of all new hires. As with a few other E-Verify mandates, Georgia’s HB 87 will be implemented in stages depending on the number of full-time employees (generally those who work 35 hours or more per week) within a particular business.
Effective January 1, 2012, all private employers with 500 or more employers are required to enroll in E-Verify and verify the employment eligibility of new hires.
Effective July 1, 2012, all private employers with 100 or more employees but fewer than 500 employees are required to enroll in E-Verify and verify the employment eligibility of new hires.
Effective July 1, 2013, all private employers with more than 10 employees but fewer than 100 employees are required to enroll in E-Verify and verify the employment eligibility of new hires.
In addition, to enforce HB 87, every business will now have to submit an affidavit regarding compliance with E-Verify to its local government before that business can obtain or renew its business license or occupational tax certificate.
Louisiana passed two E-Verify related bills in 2011 governing both public and private employers.
Effective January 1, 2012, Act 376 requires that private employers who bid on a public entity project or enter into a contract agreement with a public entity for the physical performance of services; confirm in a sworn affidavit that the company uses the E-Verify system for all new employees within the United States. If the employer is awarded a contract, he or she is required to E-Verify all new employees in Louisiana hired through the duration of the contract. The requirement applies to both general contractors and their subcontractors.
Effective August 15, 2011, Act 402 stipulates that all Louisiana employers must confirm the citizenship or work authorization status of new hires through one of two ways. The employer may either: (1) use the E-Verify system; or (2) ensure that each employee has provided a picture ID and one of the following documents (a copy of which must also be retained): U.S. birth certificate or certified birth card; Naturalization certificate; Certificate of citizenship; Alien registration receipt card; U.S. immigration form I-94, with employment authorized stamp.
Both laws include a provision stating that any employer who E-Verifies an employee who is later found to be unauthorized will not be penalized, nor will the employer be held civilly or criminally liable due to inaccurate E-Verify reports.
Meanwhile, in South Carolina, act 69 amends the South Carolina Illegal Immigration and Reform Act to require all employers to register and participate in E-Verify.
Effective January 1, 2012, all employers must enroll in E-Verify to verify the legal status of all new hires within three days. There will no longer be the option of only hiring employees who possess or qualify for a South Carolina driver’s license (or other state license with similarly strict requirements) in lieu of using E-Verify.
All private employers in South Carolina shall be imputed a South Carolina employment license, which can be taken away under certain circumstances. For example, a private employer who knowingly or intentionally employs an unauthorized alien violates the private employer’s license.
There will be a grace period of one year for employers, during which penalties will be probationary. After that, employers can face temporary suspension of their business license for hiring unauthorized workers and reinstatement fees after those workers have been fired. On third offense, an employer’s business license can be revoked.
We recently attended the 89th annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner, where we received the Customer Service Award from First Citizens Bank. It is an absolute honor to receive this accolade, and thanks must go to the whole Mind Your Business team for their hard work and dedication to making us such a successful customer-focused business.
The MYB team at the awards ceremony.
The awards dinner, held at Kenmure Country Club, celebrated the success of local outstanding businesses and recognized individuals for their service to the community as examples of Chamber members at their best, said Bob Williford, president of the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce.
Other Chamber award winners included David Jordan, Chamber Ambassador of the Year; Bill McKibbin, Duke Energy Citizenship Award; Executive director of the Henderson County Education Foundation Don Jones, Chamber’s Education Champion Award; Molly Parkhill, president of Blue Ridge Community College, was named Industrialist of the Year; and Jim and Margaret Miller named Camp Industry Leaders of the Year.
We had a fantastic time and were proud to be awarded with such an accolade, and among such a great group of businessmen and women! A great start to 2012 – and we hope it continues in the same way.
The Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizens Protection Act
Alabama’s new immigration law, Act No. 2011-535, is widely considered to be the toughest immigration law in the nation. While some parts of the law have drawn legal challenges, most of the provisions relating directly to employers have survived.
Effective January 1, 2012, as a condition for the award of any state contract, every contractor or subcontractor shall enroll in E-Verify and verify the employment eligibility of its new hires using E-Verify. A first offense of the Act can lead to debarment from state contracts, cancellation of state government grants or incentives and suspension or revocation of business license for up to 60 days. A second offense may lead to permanent revocation of the employer’s business license.
Effective April 1, 2012, every business entity or employer in the state is required to enroll in E-Verify and verify the work eligibility of all new hires using E-Verify. A business entity or employer that uses E-Verify to verify the work authorization of an employee shall not be deemed to have violated this section with respect to the employment of that employee.
The Tennessee Lawful Employment Act (H.B. 1378)
The Tennessee Lawful Employment Act requires all employers in Tennessee to demonstrate that they are hiring and maintaining a legal workforce either by verifying the employment eligibility of newly hired employees through E-Verify or by requesting (and maintaining a copy of) an identity/employment authorization document from all newly hired employees.
Effective January 1, 2012, all state and local government agencies must enroll and participate in E-Verify or request and maintain an identity/employment authorization document from a newly hired employee.
Effective January 1, 2012, all private employers with 500 or more employees must enroll and participate in E-Verify or request and maintain an identity / employment authorization document from a newly hired employee.
Effective July 1, 2012, all private employers with 200 to 499 employees must enroll and participate in E-Verify or request and maintain an identity / employment authorization document from a newly hired employee.
Effective July 1, 2013, all private employers with 6 to 199 employees must register and utilize E-Verify or request and maintain an identity / employment authorization document from a newly hired employee.
An employer who has been found to have violated the employment verification provisions of the Act will be assessed $500 for the first violation, $1,000 for a second violation and $2,500 for a third or subsequent violation. In addition to these civil penalties, first-time offenders will also be assessed an additional $500 for each employee or non-employee who was not verified through the E-Verify program or for whom an identity / employment authorization document was not requested. For second and third violations, employers will be fined an additional $1,000 or $2,500, respectively, for each employee or non-employee
Tennessee state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says he wants to press ahead with legislation “to make sure that we’re drug testing practically everyone getting any kind of government benefits.” This means that Tennessee joins a long list of states who have/are planning to implement drug testing for welfare recipients.
But it doesn’t stop there.
He also said tentatively that it’s “fine with me” if corporate executives whose businesses are awarded millions of dollars in state taxpayer cash as incentives to create jobs in Tennessee are subjected to the same drug tests as the recipients of welfare and food stamps that he wants tested.
A “class-less” stance which certainly seems more fair at first glance – but we are yet to see the public response. One would certainly think that taxpayers would appreciate the regulation of where their tax dollars go but, considering the criticism that a lot of similar legislation in other states has received, we can expect much of the same.
“We will have some legislation ready to go on that. I can’t tell you exactly what it’s going to be right now but it will deal with making sure that when people apply for unemployment compensation that they’re supposed to get it, and second of all, I still want to make sure that we’re drug testing practically everyone getting any kind of government benefits,” Ramsey said.
Workers who are fired from their jobs for cause, rather than being laid off for economic reasons, are ineligible for unemployment pay, but Ramsey told reporters Dec. 15 that he believes that “nine times out of 10,” ineligible individuals are approved for jobless pay anyway. When pressed for evidence, he said he wasn’t sure it was nine out of 10 but added, “I will say a majority of the time.”
However, as is the case with other legislation, there is a question over how constitutional drug testing in this manner really is. Gov. Bill Haslam is not sold on the concept of drug testing recipients on state assistance, for largely this reason. He also questions whether it is cost-effective in the long run.
What are your thoughts of drug testing for those who receive government benefits? Are you seeing similar legislation in your state?
Background checks – on the surface they seem simple, but if you’ve ever run one on someone you’ll know that there’s actually quite a lot to them. If you’re an employer, you should certainly be running employment checks on both current, and prospective, employees. But understandably, when you realize what a challenge they can be, it’s easy to skip them.
To make things easier for you, here’s our five step process to performing a background check:
1) Get professional help
The first way you can make the background screening process a lot easier is to hire a pre-employment screening company. An employment screening service will provide you with reliable results, ensuring that you know any information regarding applicants or employees that could put you at risk. By providing you with such knowledge, you are in a better position to make any hiring decisions.
2) Choose your checks
There are various different types of background check that can be performed by an pre-employment screening service as part of a staff testing program, and it will depend on the job role you are performing the check for.
Go through the different types of checks you can perform with an employment screening service and come to a decision on which checks would be best for you.
3) Run the checks
Allow the screening service to put your plans into practice, and run the background checks. It’s not always easy information to obtain, so be sure to find out what the time-line is for receiving the results.
This is where you will find out whether any dubious information was obtained about any job candidates or employees. It is now up to you to make a hiring decision based on this information – what was the information that was revealed? How much of a risk might this candidate/employee pose to your business? Is it worth having them as a part of your team?
Here’s the important part. Running a background check just once is good, but not quite enough. If you run a background check on an individual prior to hiring them, and then they work for you for 20 years – is that one check enough? Probably not. It is definitely worth running checks regularly on all employees, just to be safe.
So what’s next? Start those background checks! For more information on how Mind Your Business, Inc. can help you protect your business, or if you have questions on any of the points made above, get in touch with us today. We’ll be happy to help!
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin unveiled his legislative agenda last week by asking for mandatory drug testing of workers who try to enroll in taxpayer-funded job training programs.
Drug testing in the workplace should be a priority for any business owner, as it contributes to a more productive and efficient work environment. The Department of Labor suggests that “Seventy-three percent of all current drug users aged 18 and older (8.3 million adults) are employed. This includes 6.7 million full-time workers and 1.6 million part-time workers.” Surely reason enough to implement drug testing in many situations, both in the workplace and in job training?
State of the State address
Democrat Tomblin’s annual State of the State address marked the beginning of the 60-day legislative session. In his speech, Tomblin said taxpayer-funded job training programs would now require drug tests before people could enroll in them. Tomblin said he had learned that “far too often” graduates of the state and federal job training programs do not get jobs because they cannot pass a drug test.
“When this happens, we have lost valuable education dollars, we have lost a productive member of our community, and we have lost the opportunity to strengthen our economy,” Tomblin said. ”I will therefore require that individuals pass a drug screening prior to enrolling in our state’s taxpayer-funded workforce training programs.”
He went on the conclude by saying that “As leaders of this state, we need to understand that our mission is to create a business climate that fosters job development. It is our responsibility to have the discipline, the know-how, the determination and most importantly, the pride, to take steps that will unleash the engines of our economic future.”
Welfare drug testing has been a hot topic of debate in many states for the last year or so, and drug screening for those in taxpayer funded industries is not far behind.
What do you think about drug screening in these circumstances?
As London continues to prepare for the Olympic games this summer, there’s one aspect of preparations that most people might not think about – background screening of the torch bearers.
When the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) announced the 8,000 participants chosen to carry the Olympic flame in the torch relay, they also noted that all of these individuals would be subjected to thorough background checks.
The torchbearers will become some of the most high-profile faces in the lead up to the Olympic Games and therefore background checks are necessary to ensure they are suitable for the role.
The organizers must be able to recruit people in full confidence that they are right for the job. Not only would it be costly and disruptive if mistakes came to light, but if the organisers were not to take such precautions the potential damage to the Olympics’ reputation could be severe.
The same should apply to any business or organization – you need to trust in those who work for you, in whatever capacity they are employed. “By using background checks, employers are giving themselves some peace of mind that the person on paper is the same person that is sat across from them in the interview” says HR Magazine.
There are various types of background checks, so you first though as an employer ought to be what type of check you want to run on a candidate or employee.
Furthermore, it can be a time-consuming process with little room for error. For this reason, you may want to consider hiring a pre-employment screening company. While the cost may be a concern, the experience and reliability they offer will provide you security and be well worth the expense.
For more information on background screening, get in touch with us – we can assist you in all you employment screening needs.
Pepsi Beverages Co. has agreed to pay $3.1 million to settle federal charges of race discrimination for using criminal background checks to screen out job applicants — even if they weren’t convicted of a crime.
Using arrest and conviction records to deny employment can be illegal if it’s irrelevant for the job, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces the nation’s employment discrimination laws. In this case, the EEOC feels that the company’s policy of not hiring workers with arrest records disproportionately excluded more than 300 black applicants.
The company has since adopted a new criminal background policy and plans to make jobs available to victims of the old policy if they are still interested in jobs at Pepsi and are qualified for the openings.
“I commend Pepsi’s willingness to reexamine its policy and modify it to ensure that unwarranted roadblocks to employment are removed,” EEOC Chairwoman Jacqueline Berrien said in a statement.
“We hope that employers with unnecessarily broad criminal background check policies take note of this agreement and reassess their policies to ensure compliance” with antidiscrimination laws, Julie Schmid – acting director of the EEOC’s Minneapolis office - said in a written statement.
About 73 percent of major employers report that they always check on applicants’ criminal records, while 19 percent do so for select job candidates, according to a 2010 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.
The hard-line position taken by the EEOC is something that all businesses need to think about as they enforce their employment screening policies. To be sure to stick within the legal lines, it would be best to hire an employment screening service - who will have a tight grasp of legislation and how you can stay on the right side of the law.
If you have any questions regarding employment screening legislation, or the employment screening process as a whole, feel free to get in touch with us at Mind Your Business, Inc. We will do our utmost to answer your questions and assist your hiring needs.
In quite a shocking story from New Jersey, it seems that background screening legislation is really starting to make an impact. Some 350 school board members across New Jersey must resign their positions immediately after failing to complete a criminal background check now mandated by state law.
The requirement, imposed through legislation enacted last year, is designed to hold school board members to the same standards that prevent criminals from becoming public school teachers, including drug possession or criminal mischief offenses. It is currently the only such law in the country but – with an ever-increasing focus on protecting children – there is little doubt that similar legislation will pop up in other states in 2012.
Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-Union) sponsored the legislation that requires school board members to undergo a criminal background check.
Failure to have completed the background check by Dec. 31 is an offense and officials who refuse to step down could be charged with a fourth-degree crime under the new law. ”If you don’t complete the background check, and you try to stick around, you risk going to jail. It’s as simple as that,” said Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-Union), the legislation’s sponsor.
Of the state’s 4,702 non-charter school board members, 189 failed to submit their background checks by the end-of-year deadline. In addition, nine members from districts including Plainfield and Long Hill who did submit the check have been disqualified for past crimes.
Noncompliance among board of trustee members at charter schools is much higher. One quarter of all charter school board officials, or 165 of 597 trustees, did not submit their criminal history reviews and are ineligible to continue serving their school communities. In addition, three trustees have been disqualified for past crimes.
What do you think of this legislation? Some believe it is overly-punitive, would you agree?
You can read more about this story at NJ.com.
Henderson County has weathered stormy periods with unemployment in the four years since the recession hit, but there is hope that 2012 may show improvement.
In January 2008, the county’s unemployment rate was 3.8 percent as reported by the N.C. Department of Commerce Division of Employment Security, formerly the N.C. Employment Security Commission.
But the economy imploded in the fall of that year, and by January 2009, unemployment in the county had jumped to 8.4 percent. Unemployment rates continued to climb to 10.1 percent in January 2010 before hitting a record high of 10.2 percent in February that same year, according to the DES.
There are a number of reasons for the spike in unemployment that the county saw in the months and years following the beginning of the recession, said Bruce Larson, a professor of economics at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.
“Although there are the national economic trends to be concerned with, every location is going to have different circumstances,” he said. “In an area of tourism, such as Henderson County, people are staying closer to home, so that impacts the economy. The housing situation is another thing, since people aren’t going to be moving here if they can’t sell a house at the present time — this is a huge issue.
Things are finally becoming more stable after a couple of turbulent years, said Marilyn Williams, director of the Hendersonville DES office. The jobs situation in Henderson County has not returned to pre-2008 levels, Williams said, but the county’s employment outlook looks poised to improve.
Activity over the past several weeks and months points to positive news on the jobs front as 2011 winds down and 2012 begins. Speaking to a group of local business leaders Wednesday, state Sen. Tom Apodaca said he believes Henderson County can get its unemployment rate back down to pre-recession levels, but it will take time.
“In about five to eight years, it will get back to what it was,” he said. “It’s going to be a long, slow recovery, but I definitely think we can get there eventually, at least in this area. I think some counties will never see those kind of numbers again.”
A positive outlook from Senator Apodaca, and let’s hope he is right.
Read more on this at BlueRidgeNow.com.
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