Effective July 1, 2023, employers with 25 or more employees were required to use the free, online E-Verify for employment eligibility verification of new employees. This verification must be done within three business days of the new hire’s start date, and employers must certify that they used the program on their first tax return of each calendar year. If an employer can’t use E-Verify, the Employment Eligibility Verification form (Form I-9) must be used and the system’s unavailability must be recorded (via screenshot, public statement, etc.). Employers cannot continue to employ someone after learning they are not eligible to work. Verification records must be kept for three years.
Verifying Employees Outside of Florida
The law doesn’t define employees as only those working in the state, which seems to indicate that Florida employers are required to use E-Verify for all employees, including those working in other states.
The major penalty provisions for violating this new law, while not effective until July 1, 2024, are severe. The law provides:
- …beginning on July 1, 2024, if the Department of Economic Opportunity determines that an employer failed to use the E-Verify system to verify the employment eligibility of employees as required under this section, the department must notify the employer of the department’s determination of noncompliance and provide the employer with 30 days to cure the noncompliance.
- If the Department of Economic Opportunity determines that an employer failed to use the E-Verify system as required under this section three times in any 24-month period, the department must impose a fine of $1,000 per day until the employer provides sufficient proof to the department that the noncompliance is cured. Noncompliance constitutes grounds for the suspension of all licenses issue[d] by a licensing agency subject to chapter 120 until the noncompliance is cured.
Certification of Compliance
For companies who have 25 or more employees, there is also a certification that your Company must supply each calendar year to the State, certifying that your Company is in compliance with its E-Verify obligations. Resourcing Edge will assist your Company in its understanding of and in its compliance with Section 448.095. However, it is your Company’s sole and exclusive obligation, not that of Resourcing Edge, for compliance with this law and it is your Company’s sole and exclusive obligation to verify employment eligibility of any new employee of your Company, as required by this law, whether or not these new employees are to be in a PEO relationship. Any fines or other penalties resulting from your Company’s failure to follow proper immigration, I-9, or E-Verify procedures and processes will be solely your Company’s responsibility.
We are well aware that this law is complicated, but with the help of our dedicated group of HR professionals, we hope to simplify your compliance obligations.
Effective July 1, 2023, Florida employers cannot condition employment based on whether an employee or prospective employee is authorized to carry—as opposed to licensed to carry—a concealed weapon or firearm. A concealed weapon license requires, among other things, an application, photograph, and fingerprints. Under the new law, individuals may be authorized to carry a concealed weapon if they are licensed, or if they are unlicensed but meet certain legal requirements and always carry a valid ID with the weapon.
The law remained unchanged in prohibiting employers from conditioning employment on any agreement with an employee that prohibits them from keeping a legal firearm locked—inside or to a private motor vehicle—in a parking lot when it’s kept for lawful purposes.
Beginning June 1, 2023, employers in Florida are prohibited from doing any of the following:
- Basing any employment decision on documentation of vaccination if the vaccination is for COVID-19 or uses mRNA technology
- Basing any employment decision on the knowledge or a belief about a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status or their receipt of any mRNA vaccine, or their COVID-19 post-infection recovery status
- Requiring COVID-19 testing
- Basing any employment decision on a person’s failure to take a COVID-19 test
Additionally, under the new law employers cannot require employees to wear face coverings that cover their mouth and nose, with exceptions for healthcare providers and when face coverings are a standard occupational safety measure.