Last month, Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) suspended all current bridge construction projects by Britton Bridge, LLC and related companies until they performed an independent review of their safety procedures. This action came as a result of a second on-the-job fatality of a worker at the Henley Bridge project in Knoxville, TN, since January 2011.
But the inquiry has not stopped there. Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement took lead of the investigation into the two fatal worker accidents to determine whether the Britton knowingly hired illegal immigrants. According to the report, an illegal immigrant had a role in the first accident in January and the second victim last month may have also been working illegally.
As a contractor, what do you need to know about the immigrant status of your employees or subcontractor’s employees? Here is what the law requires for public projects in Tennessee:
- The state shall not contract for goods or services from any person who knowingly utilizes the services of illegal immigrants in the performance of the contract.
- That means, no contractor can knowingly utilize the services of illegal immigrants in the performance of a contract with the state.
- Effective January 1, 2007, the contractor must attest in writing that it will not knowingly utilize services of illegal immigrants.
- If a contractor does so, then he may be barred from public contracting for a period of one year.
So, how does the contractor comply with the state law? First, it should include an appropriate attestation clause in its prime contract with the state, which may look something like this:
Contractor attests, certifies, warrants, and assures that it shall not knowingly utilize the services of an illegal immigrant in the performance of the Work and shall not knowingly utilize the services of any Subcontractor who will utilize the services of an illegal immigrant in the performance of the Work.
The next step for the contractor is to include a similar requirement in its subcontracts, which may look something like this:
Contractor has agreed to comply with the immigrant labor provisions of all applicable laws, including Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 12-4-124. Accordingly, Subcontractor agrees that it will not knowingly utilize the services of illegal immigrants in the performance of the Work. Additionally, upon execution of this Subcontract, Subcontractor shall provide a written attestation in the form of the attached “Addendum” stating that it will not knowingly utilize the services of illegal immigrants in the performance of the Work.
This information may be helpful for projects in Tennessee and you should check with your attorney to review the applicable state and other Federal labor requirements for public projects.
Image: Norman Lowery