Georgia HB 87 Law

Posted by Hecht Walker, P.C.
Posted on August 9, 2013

graphic of e-verify system on a computerGeorgia and a handful of other states recently passed laws requiring business owners to use E-Verify to validate their employees’ eligibility status. July 1 marked the final implementation of this law, which now affects all businesses employing more than 10 full-time workers. The E-Verify system is a free online system that crosschecks an employee’s I-9 information across databases belonging to the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. With the E-Verify requirement, the onus is now on business owners to ensure that their employees have the legal documentation to work in the US.

HB 87 is part of a general trend in immigration, that started in Arizona with the passage of SB 1070 in 2010. The Georgia law looks beyond individuals to focus on the businesses employing them. If employers are found to have illegally hired workers without documentation, they may face large fines and even criminal or civil charges.

Business owners consider the law punitive and bad for Georgia’s economy. They argue that not only are the checks required burdensome to businesses, but they will likely prevent new business investment in the state. Businesses expected to be impacted by the law go beyond the agriculture, restaurant and construction industries to include fields like IT.

One bright spot in the HB 87 debate: several months ago a federal court struck down Section 7 of the law, which criminalized transporting or housing illegal workers. However, it remains to be seen how the remainder of HB 87 impacts Georgia’s economy and workforce. In the meantime, businesses are advised to speak with an employment law attorney if they have questions about the legality of new hires.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *