On July 5, 2012, as expected, Governor Tom Corbett signed into law the Public Works Employment Verification Act, which will take effect January 1, 2013. The law which requires public works contractors and subcontractors, on construction projects where the estimated cost is at least $25,000, to use E-Verify to determine whether their employees are authorized to work in the United States.
The law broadly defines public work as “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).”
State public works contractors and subcontractors will also be required to sign a verification form acknowledging their enrollment in E-Verify and their responsibilities under the law. Willful
violators who misrepresent themselves on the verification form may be subject to a civil fine of $250 and $1,000 per violation.
Failure to E-Verify employees will lead to the following penalties:
- First Offense: warning to violator and posting on Pennsylvania’s website;
- Second Offense: 30 day debarment from state public works contracts;
- Third Offense: 180 days or up to one year debarment from state public works contracts; and
- Willful violators may be debarred for up to three years.
The Department of General Services shall enforce this law. It shall investigate “any credible complaint of a violation of this law. Additionally, the Department shall conduct random audits of public works contractors and subcontractors.
The law includes an anti-retaliation/discrimination provision whereby it is unlawful to retaliate or discriminate against any employee who participates in an investigation or hearing or reports a complaint.
Since the law is not effective for almost 6 months, public works contractors and subcontractors have time to prepare to rnter the world of E-Verify. I would advise these contractors to retain an attorney experienced in immigration compliance.
Bruce E. Buchanan is an attorney at the at Nashville Office of Siskind Susser, P.C. He represents individuals and employers in all aspects of immigration law, with an emphasis on immigration compliance for employers, and employment/labor law. Mr. Buchanan received his law degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1982 and a B.S. degree from Florida State University, where he graduated magna cum laude. Mr. Buchanan has been in private practice since 2003. Beforehand, he served as Senior Trial Specialist for the National Labor Relations Board for 20 years. He also served from 1991 to 2003 as Adjunct Professor at William H. Bowen UALR School of Law, where he taught courses in Labor Law and Employment Law. Mr. Buchanan was chair of the Tennessee Bar Association's Immigration Law Section from 2011 to 2012 and has been the editor of the TBA's Immigration Law Section Newsletter and the TBA's Labor and Employment Law Section Newsletter since 2009. Mr. Buchanan is a frequent writer and speaker on immigration compliance as well as labor law, wage & hour law and proposed federal legislation. He is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and serves as the Advocacy Liaison of the Mid-South Chapter of AILA. Mr. Buchanan also serves on the Board of Directors for the Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE) and is an associate member of the Mid-Tennessee Chapter of the Associated Builders & Contractors. Mr. Buchanan is admitted to practice in Tennessee, Florida, and Arkansas, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and D.C. Circuits and the U.S. District Courts for the Middle District of Tennessee and the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas.