New California Law AB 622 Creates Penalties for Misuse of E-Verify on Applicants

“E-Verify” is an electronic database program that draws on information from various federal agencies to allow employers to confirm whether someone is authorized to work in the United States.  Although E-Verify is a voluntary program, some federal contractors and government agencies are required to use it.  When an employer enters a worker’s identity information into the E-Verify system, E-Verify either confirms that the worker is authorized to work, or it issues a “tentative non-confirmation” (TNC) notice, indicating that the worker’s status cannot be confirmed.  A TNC notice does not mean the worker is undocumented.  There are strict rules about how employers are supposed to use E-Verify, and what they must do when they get a TNC notice. 

However, many employers misuse or deliberately abuse this program in a way that prevents work-authorized immigrants from getting a job.  AB 622, signed by the California governor on October 9, adds Section 2814 to the Labor Code and creates a $10,000 penalty for employers who unlawfully use E-Verify to verify whether a person is work authorized before the person has received an offer of employment, or otherwise use E-Verify in a way that is not consistent with the E-Verify obligations for employers. 

AB 622 also specifically requires employers to give the TNC notice, and other information, to the employee. 

These penalties will help eliminate discriminatory abuse of the E-Verify system.  AB 622 strengthens protections for workers already found in Labor Code Section 2811, which prohibits the State of California, any city, county, city and county, or special district from requiring employers to use E-Verify as a condition of any government contract, and Labor Code 1019 which prohibits unfair immigration-related employment practices, including misusing E-Verify to retaliate against workers for exercising their rights under the Labor Code. 

Click on our links for further E-Verify FAQs and Know Your Rights information.  For further information regarding this new law, contact your labor law counsel. 

By Xochitl Lopez | October 26, 2015

Legal Developments