As a restaurant owner or manager, one of your most important jobs is having the “right” person on board, in each of the specialty occupations in your restaurant. Whether it’s the chef, prep staff, cleaning folks, wait staff or busboys, each position is integral to running an effective operation. It is also common knowledge, particularly in large cities, that getting the “right” staff can be almost impossible, given the dearth of applicants for many of these jobs. Obviously, employers also want to ensure that all employees are legally authorized to work in the United States. Starting July 1, 2013, the Georgia legislature wanted to ensure that all new hires for Georgia’s restaurant are, in fact, legally allowed to work.
What Georgia’s E-Verify requirement means for compliant employers is that they remain at a competitive disadvantage against those employers who do not have to comply, or who refuse to comply with this requirement (which is not the purpose of the law). It also means that people who might be working in the restaurant industry without an E-Verify check will find it hard to obtain new work for an employer who has complied with the law (which is the purpose of the law). None of these facts make us conclude that E-Verify is bad, but it is obvious Georgia’s E-Verify law is a badly thought out idea, with difficult consequences for employers who actually comply with the law.
Georgia intends to enforce the E-Verify requirement by requiring employers to sign an affidavit on E-Verify enrollment requirements when obtaining a renewal of the business or occupational tax license. Above all else, remember that E-Verify is only to be used to verify NEW employees. It cannot be used to check the documents or status of current employees, as of the date of enrollment If you are ensure of whether you are required to comply with Georgia’s new E-Verify rules, or how to use the E-Verify system, call your immigration counsel today and see what options, if any, are available to you. E-Verify is now the law in Georgia. It is a best practice to ensure that your restaurant is compliant.