Pennsylvania Enacts E-Verify Requirement for Public Contractors

Starting on January 1, 2013, Pennsylvania public contractors and subcontractors will have a bit more paperwork to complete when making new hires. That’s the date the state’s Public Works Employment Verification Act takes effect.

For your reference, a Q&A on the new law:

 

What is E-Verify?

“E-Verify is a free Internet-based system that is maintained and administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The system allows employers to input employee personal details and have that information compared to data from DHS and Social Security Administration records to confirm employment eligibility” (New E-Verify Requirement for Pa. Public Works Contractors, Beginning January 1, 2013 by Duane Morris LLP)

How will the law be applied?

“As a precondition of being awarded a contract, contractors and subcontractors must provide a verification form acknowledging compliance to the public agency that awarded the contract. The law prohibits discrimination based on race, ethnicity, color, or national origin, as well as retaliation against an employee who reports a violation or assists in a government investigation.” (Pennsylvania Becomes The Latest State To Require E-Verify by Fisher & Phillips LLP)

Who must comply with the new law?

“The law affects public works contractors and subcontractors who will work on certain projects with an estimated value of at least $25,000, which are funded at least in part by a public body.” (E-Verify Mandated for Public Works Contractors and Subs in Pennsylvania as of January 1, 2013 Fox Rothschild)

What is meant by “public work” projects?

“’Public work’ means construction, reconstruction, demolition, alteration, and/or repair work other than maintenance work done under contract and paid for in whole or in part out of the funds of a public body where the estimated cost of the total project is in excess of $25,000, but shall not include work performed under a rehabilitation or manpower training program.” (Pennsylvania Enacts Mandatory E-Verify for Public Contractors by Morgan Lewis)

What are penalties for non-compliance?

“Contractors and subcontractors who fail to verify the employment eligibility of their new employees through the E-Verify program will face sanctions, which range from a warning for a first offense to a ban from publicly funded projects for up to three years for willful violations. In addition, contractors and subcontractors who fail to submit the verification will face fines of up to $1,000.” (New Law to Mandate Use of E-Verify by Public Works Contractors and Subcontractors by McNees Wallace & Nurick LLC)

What else is in the Act?

“The law also protects whistleblowers by prohibiting retaliation or discrimination by a contractor or subcontractor against an employee who reports a violation of the act or participates in a government investigation of an alleged violation. Workers who suffer retaliation or discrimination can sue for reinstatement and restitution.” (PA Contractors Must Use E-Verify To Check Employee Eligibility by Ballard Spahr LLP)

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