E-Verify Now With Possible Second Shutdown Looming

Closeup shot of an unrecognizable woman using a laptop while working from home

By: Chris M. Mason Attorney, Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C.

With another possible government shutdown looming, Arizona employers are understandably concerned with hiring new employees and handling E-verify requirements.  Employers should quickly E-verify while they can.  While both major political parties appear hopeful that they may have achieved an acceptable compromise, we do not yet know whether it will prove enough before funding expires.

As employers learned in prior shutdowns, most notably the very recent shutdown which lasted for a record-setting 35 days before a temporary compromise was reached, government services like E-verify may be discontinued for lack of funding during the shutdown.  This creates an uneasy verification stasis for Arizona employers, who are required to E-verify under state law.  The only practical solution is to E-verify while the portal is open, and then table the verification of others hired during a period while the portal is closed.  E-verification should be done as quickly as possible once the portal is re-opened.  Thus, for those Arizona employers who have not already gone back to E-verify those hired during the last E-verify closure, they should do so immediately, particularly before government funding runs out on Friday night, February 15. 

Employers certainly can and should complete I-9 forms while the E-verify portal is not operative, as I-9 completion is a stand-alone requirement.  And adding screenshot printouts of the E-verify portal “closed” status to unverified employee files will help track and explain any E-verification delays if later needed.  Employers also should not assume that the portal is down on any given day.  Even at the stroke of midnight on February 15, the portal may remain open for days or even weeks even without an approved budget.

Mr. Mason counsels employers and management on all aspects of labor and employment law, including collective bargaining and union organizing; restrictive covenants; employment discrimination; sexual harassment; whistleblowing; retaliation; wrongful termination; personnel policies; reductions in force; trade secrets; restrictive covenants; duty of loyalty; drug and alcohol testing; and other state and federal laws, rules, and regulations.

Mr. Mason can be reached at  602.262.5825 or mmason@jsslaw.com.

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