State of Arizona Set to Mandate Tougher Regs for Employment Eligibility
July 3, 2007
Some trends take longer than others. Take for instance beanie babies, bell bottom pants, swatch watches, or cabbage patch kids. These things took off like wild fire. For better or worse, it seemed like everyone couldn’t wait to participate. Okay so maybe the trend for states to enforce employment eligibility laws isn’t setting world records for speed, but Arizona is now set to be the second state to pass a law that puts teeth into the enforcement of only hiring legal U.S. citizens and it is believed that Georgia is close behind. Arizona house bill #2779 threatens to suspend the business license of first time offenders and even includes a “death penalty”, permanent revocation of a business license for failing to verify work status on all employees. Of course, so far the state’s efforts are only being bolstered with a $100,000 budget, but if these efforts actually do take shape, employers in the state of Arizona better take note, and fast!
I was recently speaking with an employment attorney about states adopting such laws for the enforcement of a federal statute and she questioned whether the state could actually adopt legislation that mandates the enforcement. It’s a question I still haven’t been able to answer but one that we should most definitely follow up on.
In the meantime, should this trend continue, it puts further onus on the employer to ensure that their employees are working legally in this country. It dictates that they must spend more time making sure that I-9 documentation is filled out correctly, that identification be scrutinized and that the employer confirm the employees eligibility status with the Social Security Administration. With the threat of the aforementioned sanctions, failure to do this could really hurt . . . now.