Court: Federal contractors covered by E-Verify rule

Federal contractors must comply starting Sept. 8

The requirement to use electronic employment verification for federal contractors has cleared a potential legal hurdle, easing the way for enforcement to start Sept. 8.

A district judge on Aug. 26 ruled against organizations that were attempting to stop the electronic employment verification requirement. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Maryland upheld the Homeland Security Department’s E-Verify requirement that ordered federal contractors to register and participate in the Internet-based electronic employment verification system. The lawsuit had been brought by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other parties.


Update: Plaintiffs file for injunction, appeal planned


The Obama administration previously had set the Sept. 8 enforcement date after three postponements. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced in July that the department will start enforcing the rule Sept. 8.

E-Verify is a Web-based system run by DHS in partnership with the Social Security Administration. About 134,000 employers use the system, and 12 states have made using E-Verify a requirement for state workers, state contractors or both.

Employers use E-Verify by entering the Social Security numbers of prospective new hires and current employees. If there is a match, the employee is eligible for work. If not, the employee is advised to contact SSA to determine the source of the problem. DHS acknowledges a 3.9 percent rate of nonmatches in the system; however, critics contend the error rate is higher because the system is not designed to catch stolen or borrowed Social Security numbers.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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