Contributed by Sara Zorich
The federal government was shut down from October 1 – October 16, 2013. During the governmental shutdown, E-Verify was unavailable for use. E-Verify came back online on October 17, 2013. Employers were unable to enter any employees into E-Verify during the governmental shutdown and employees were unable to address Tentative Nonconfirmations during such time. Due to the shutdown, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is allowing employers to enter each employee hired during or otherwise affected by the shutdown into E-Verify by November 5, 2013. If the employer is prompted to provide a reason why the case is late (i.e., does not conform to the three-day rule), USCIS has indicated the employer should select ‘Other’ from the drop-down list of reasons and enter ‘federal government shutdown’ in the field. A copy of USCIS’s full instructions with additional information to assist employers dealing with E-Verify issues due to the federal government shutdown can be found at here.
According to USCIS, on October 22, 2013 E-Verify experienced some technical issues resulting in Tentative Nonconfirmations for employees who provided a U.S. Passport or Passport Card. USCIS has provided guidance to employers who had this issue on October 22, 2013: “If you created a case for an employee who provided a U.S. Passport or Passport Card and received a Tentative Nonconfirmation, close the case as ‘Invalid because the data entered is incorrect.’ You should then create a new case for the employee using the same U.S. Passport or Passport Card information provided for Form I-9.” If, when entering the new case, employers are prompted to select the reason the case was not submitted within 3 business days, they should select “Technical Problems” from the drop-down menu. Employers MAY NOT ask the employee to provide different documents if the U.S. Passport or Passport Card used to enter the employee into E-Verify on October 22, 2013 appeared to be genuine and relate to the employee.
New Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants in Illinois
In December 2013, the Illinois Secretary of State will begin issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants meeting the following criteria: (1) has resided in the state for more than one year; (2) is ineligible to obtain a social security number (SSN); and (3) is unable to present documentation authorizing his or her presence in the U.S. The driver’s licenses being issued are called Temporary Visitor Driver Licenses (TVDLs), have a purple banner (instead of the standard driver’s license with a red banner) and state they are “Not Valid for Identification.” Since the driver’s license states it is not valid for identification, employers must take care NOT to accept a TVDL as a valid List B document for Form I-9 purposes.
Contributed by Samantha Esmond
Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard that the federal government has shut down all non-essential services for the first time in seventeen (17) years. As the shutdown is in its second week, the length of the shutdown is still highly unpredictable. Given the fact that the key players in Washington are still pointing fingers (and the blame), it seems more and more likely that the shutdown will be here to stay for days, possibly even weeks.
So, what does this mean for the labor and employment world? Not too much. Even with the shutdown of many key government agencies, employers must continue to comply with all statutory provisions, such as Title VII, ADA, FLSA, and the National Labor Relations Act. However, many “non-essential” government agencies have provided contingency plans explaining how they will operate during the shutdown. A sample of these key agency contingency plans can be accessed here:
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): Per its contingency plan, “only activities involving the safety of human life or the protection of property will continue.” For example, the EEOC will continue to docket and examine new charges to determine whether prompt judicial action is necessary to protect life or property. Nonetheless, the EEOC will cease the following activities during the shutdown: (1) staff will not be available to answer questions from the public or to respond to correspondence from the public, (2) the EEOC will continue to accept charges that must be filed in order to preserve the rights of the claimant, such charges will not be investigated, (3) mediations will be cancelled, (4) federal sector hearings will be cancelled, (6) outreach and education events will be cancelled, and (7) FOIA requests will not be processed.
- Department of Labor (DOL): The majority of employees working for the DOL will be furloughed. Accordingly, many of its programs and services, which are not “critical,” will be impacted. To view the DOL’s contingency plan, click here.
- National Labor Relations Board (NLRB): In essence, only such government activities necessary to prevent an imminent threat to the safety of human life or the protection of property may be undertaken. As such, the Office of Inspector General hotline will remain operational during the shutdown; however several services of the NLRB will not be available during the shutdown. The NLRB has updated its website with a link to its contingency plan, which is available here.
- E-Verify: E-Verify will NOT be available during the government shutdown and employers will not be able to access their accounts.
Employer Takeaway: Generally, employers are still obligated to meet all statutory deadlines and continue to comply with all statutory and regulatory requirements during the shutdown. We will continue to monitor the happenings in Washington D.C. and provide updates as this situation develops.