This weekend my eldest son turned six years old. What right of passage does every six-year-old boy celebrate in the South? He goes to a SEC football game. And so we set out on Saturday evening for a little "guy time" with the Vanderbilt Commodores, hot dogs, nachos and popcorn. My son was decked out in his new blue polo shirt sent from his O’Ma, while I had on my favorite red, slim-fitting AGC golf shirt. The problem is … Vandy’s colors are black and gold! Which means that you are summoned … ordered … required … mandated … dictated … to wear either black or gold! My lack of knowledge did not excuse my non-compliance with the black and gold ritual. Imagine being the only person in the entire stadium with a red shirt.
If you are a federal contractor, don’t be the only person with a red shirt. Effective today, contractors and subcontractors will be required to use the E-Verify system to verify their employees’ eligibility to work in the United States. In the past, the government attempted to mandate the use of E-Verify, the web based system that employers can use to confirm the legal status of their employees. The proposed law was set to take effect in January of 2009. However, the legislation instigated much debate and several controversial provisions kept it from taking effect.
Although the amended proposal which takes effect today has significantly less bite, E-Verify has broadened in scope. Not only do the provisions apply to contractors and subcontractors on federal projects, but also to any business receiving funds under the federal stimulus project. For more details about E-Verify and some of the hot issues surrounding its controversial history, check out some of the following sites:
- Michael Payne’s post on Federal Construction Contracting Blog, which gives a good overview of the law’s applicability to certain contracts
- An extensive summary by Nixon Peabody attorneys Kent Jonas and Matthew Zandi
- An article by Federal Times about the federal district court in Maryland which found the regulation to be legal
- A Wall Street Journal report on the 11th hour bid to overturn the law
Given the current state of the economy, more and more contractors are taking on public projects. For this reason, all contractors and subcontractors would be well advised to prepare for compliance with the mandated use of E-Verify. Don’t be the only one wearing a red shirt.