The Tennessee Lawful Employment Act (TLEA) as amended January 1, 2023 makes it mandatory for private employers with
50 35 or more employees under the same FEIN to use the federal E-Verify program to verify new hires.
Employers with fewer than 35 employees may choose to participate in E-Verify or request and maintain documents under the TLEA’s list of authorized identity and employment eligibility documents*. E-Verify participation is recommended.
The employee count includes employees working in or outside the state of Tennessee.
Employers of any size must also verify “non-employees.” A “non-employee” is an individual, other than your employee or that of another company, who is paid directly by you in exchange for the individual’s labor or services. You are not allowed nor required to verify another company’s employees. If your place of business contracts services from an individual, then your company must request the non-employee to provide one of the TLEA-authorized identity or employment authorization documents*. You may not verify anyone in E-Verify other than your own employees (who have completed Form I-9).
Penalties for non-compliance
First-time offenders with knowing violations are subject to a $500 company penalty as well as a $500 fine for each employee and non-employee the company failed to verify.
For repeat offenders, the penalties may rise to as high as a $2,500 company fine plus and additional $2,500 for each employee.
There is also a $500 penalty for failing to enroll in E-Verify and a $500/day penalty for failing to timely produce evidence of compliance within 45 days of a final order of violation.
Any lawful Tennessee resident or employee of a federal agency may file a complaint alleging a violation of the TLEA. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development provides a complaint form online and is charged with investigating allegations.
Last updated 01/06/2023
Newly hired employees of employers with fewer than 35 employees who do not participate in E-Verify and non-employees are required to provide one of the following identity and employment authorization documents prior to performing work:
- A valid Tennessee driver’s license or photo identification;
- A valid driver’s license or photo identification from another state where the license requirements are at least as strict as those in Tennessee (states listed below*);
- A birth certificate issued by a U.S. state, jurisdiction or territory;
- A U.S. government issued certified birth certificate;
- A valid, unexpired U.S. passport;
- A U.S. certificate of birth abroad (DS-1350 or FS-545);
- A report of birth abroad of a U.S. citizen (FS-240);
- A certificate of citizenship (N560 or N561);
- A certificate of naturalization (N550, N570 or N578);
- A U.S. citizen identification card (I-197 or I-179);
- Valid alien registration documentation or other proof of current immigration registration recognized by the United States Department of Homeland Security that contains the individual’s complete legal name and current alien admission number or alien file number (or numbers if the individual has more than one number)
SOCIAL SECURITY CARDS AND I-9 FORMS ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE DOCUMENTS.
*States with acceptable Driver’s License requirements: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming