On July 5, 2012, as expected, Governor Tom Corbett signed into law the Public Works Employment Verification Act, which will take effect January 1, 2013. The law which requires public works contractors and subcontractors, on construction projects where the estimated cost is at least $25,000, to use E-Verify to determine whether their employees are authorized to work in the United States.

The law broadly defines public work as "Construction, reconstruction, demolition, alteration and/or repair work other than maintenance work, done under contract and paid for in whole or in part out of the funds of a public body where the estimated cost of the total project is in excess of $25,000)."

State public works contractors and subcontractors will also be required to sign a verification form acknowledging their enrollment in E-Verify and their responsibilities under the law. Willful
violators who misrepresent themselves on the verification form may be subject to a civil fine of $250 and $1,000 per violation.

Failure to E-Verify employees will lead to the following penalties:

  • First Offense: warning to violator and posting on Pennsylvania's website;

  • Second Offense: 30 day debarment from state public works contracts;

  • Third Offense: 180 days or up to one year debarment from state public works contracts; and

  • Willful violators may be debarred for up to three years.

The Department of General Services shall enforce this law. It shall investigate "any credible complaint of a violation of this law. Additionally, the Department shall conduct random audits of public works contractors and subcontractors.

The law includes an anti-retaliation/discrimination provision whereby it is unlawful to retaliate or discriminate against any employee who participates in an investigation or hearing or reports a complaint.

Since the law is not effective for almost 6 months, public works contractors and subcontractors have time to prepare to rnter the world of E-Verify. I would advise these contractors to retain an attorney experienced in immigration compliance.