Two Articles-E-Verify Program/New EEOC 2008 Statistics
The Web-based E-Verify program is currently voluntary and allows employers to check the legal status of employees by matching the name and Social Security number against databases maintained by the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The program has come under scrunity because it has been plagued by serious problems that include misidentifying U.S. citizens as not authorized for employment. In 2007, for example, the DHS commissioned an independent study which concluded that “the database used for verification is still not sufficiently up to date to meet the requirements for accurate verification.” The error rate was nearly 10 percent for foreigh-born U.S. citizens.
Federal Contractor requirements to use E-Verify which was originally scheduled to go into effect in March has been delayed. The Obama Administration plans to delay the rule until May 21, 2009 to “see what needs to be done to increase the capacity for the E-Verify system.” As currently adopted, the rule applies to contracts if the company is providing work on a federal contract only. The threshold is $100,000, but if the contract is to “furnish supplies or services for performance of a prime contract or subcontract,” it is $3,000.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced that discrimination claims rose 44% last year. This represnted the highest increase in 44 years. A record 95,402 claims were filed. That was 15% more than 2007. Out of the claims filed, 25% were for age discrimination and 34% of the overall claims increase were for retaliation.
The drastic increase is clearly based on the economic times. Employers have to be careful about their selection process when, and if, layoffs become necessary. I have already handled a number of age related claims through mediation this year and toward the end of 2008. Some of these individuals worked for the employer for a substantial number of years. Logically, the amount of money a long term employee is making is significantly higher than that of an employee with less senority. Business decisions are normally made based on finances and therefore reducing payroll costs is always at the top of the list.
Employers need to consider all factors prior to making the final decision on layoffs. Keeping the best employees is fine. Just make sure that when the layoff list is reviewed, the individuals being laid off are not all of the older workers above the age of forty. There should be a balanced percentage equal to the workforce. This may be difficult to do, but it will offer a certain amount of protection should the need arise.