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eLABORate: Louisiana Governor Signs E-Verify Bill

July 12, 2011

On July 1, 2011, Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal, signed House Bill 646.  La. R.S. 23:995.  The  law prohibits any Louisiana employer from hiring an individual that is not lawfully entitled to work or reside in the United States.  The law also requires that all Louisiana employers use E-Verify to establish a good faith defense that they have verified the citizenship and employment eligibility of the individuals that they have hired.  Louisiana employers who opt to use E-Verify to verify that their employees are authorized for employment will not be subject to monetary penalty or license revocation, if the individual is ultimately determined to be unauthorized for work in the United States. 

La. R.S. 23:995 is effective August 15, 2011.  Louisiana employers will violate this law if they hire an individual who is not eligible for employment or residency in the United States without first verifying that individual’s status through E-Verify.  If a Louisiana employer is determined to have hired an individual who is not lawfully authorized for employment in violation of La. R.S. 23:995, the following penalties will apply:

  1. For a first violation, the penalty shall not be more than $500.00 for each alien employed, hired, recruited, or referred in violation of La. R.S. 23:995.
  2. For a second violation, employers will be fined up to $1,000.00 for each illegal alien employed, hired, recruited or referred in violation of La. R.S. 23:995.
  3. For a third or subsequent violation, the employer’s business license will be suspended not more than six months and a fine of not more than $2,500.00 will be assessed for each illegal worker employed, hired, recruited, or referred in violation of La. R.S. 23:995. 

According to the statute, the Louisiana Workforce Commission is responsible for enforcing the provisions of La. R.S. 23:995.  Employers who are charged with violations of La. R.S. 23:995 would be required to litigate their licensure revocation, civil penalty proceedings, and injunction proceedings in the Nineteenth Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  If judgment is rendered against the employer, the Court will award reasonable attorney’s fees and judicial interest on civil penalties from the date of assessment until all costs are paid.

On July 1, 2011, Governor Jindal also signed House Bill 342, requiring private employers seeking public contracts to verify in a sworn affidavit that they have registered for and participate in E-Verify to determine whether their employees are legal citizens or legal immigrants who lawfully reside in the United States.  La. R.S. 38:2212.10.  Louisiana employers who violate La. R.S. 38:2212.10 would be subject to cancellation of any public contract, resulting in their ineligibility to bid for any public contract for up to three years.