Chad Perrin: SOB

30 December 2007

Coyote Blog reports: Arizona Business Death Penalty Enacted

Filed under: inanity,Liberty — apotheon @ 08:23

Apparently, Arizona legislators think the employment rate in that state is too high. After all, it has just passed legislation that makes it far more difficult to hire people — to the extent that at minimum, most businesses will try to cut down on their workforces. In many cases, where such is possible, they’ll move out of the state or (if multi-state) simply close up shop on their Arizona offices. In other cases, they may simply go out of business.

If it was an effective law, one could at least excuse the legislators as being misguided — but it’s not. In fact, it’s self-contradictory. Imagine trying to run a business where you are required to check up on the citizenship of all employees current and future, and at the same time it is illegal to check up on the citizenship of current employees. Furthermore, it’s illegal to check up on citizenship of prospective employees until within three days of hiring (before or after, I think) — which means that only after the costs of interviewing, telling other candidates that might be good choices to go home, and so on, you may then find out that your top pick cannot be hired.

Arizona: the state of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” apparently. If you’re an entrepreneur thinking about moving to Arizona, just don’t.

You probably don’t want to go to Massachusetts (aka Mordor), either.


  1. Having just left the employment of a company that offered EEV services (and writing the specs for an I-9 project in close coordination with a lawyer for the same company), I can shed a bit of light on the subject. Legally, one cannot verify the legal eligibility of someone (EEV – Employment Eligibility Verification) until post-hire. In fact, it is mandatory to do so. It has been for a long, long time. That’s what an I-9 form is for. Indeed, it is illegal to ask about things like citizenship status during an interview. What you can ask (and should ask!) is “are you authorized to work in the United States?” I will say that it is prudent to ask that question, just to mitigate risk. Pre-employment, one may check the SSN, if one is provided, against a few standard criteria, such as the “death master list” (SSNs of dead people), and the formula that generates SSNs to ensure some basic things, like that the SSN would have been issues after the person was born.

    Post-hire, you must have the employee and a representative of your company complete the I-9, within 3 days. The I-9 does not require the employer to do anything other than state that they have seen the appropriate documents proving that the person is allowed to work in the US and that the documents appear to be genuine. This is the major loophoole. All it takes is for someone to print out a Social Security card that looks good enough and has a number in the right format, and some sort of government issued photo ID (easy enough to get, since the DMV does not verify citizenship status), and you can be employed illegally.

    What EEV does, it is a government provided, free service to allow you (post-hire) to verify that the person’s credentials are correct and valid. This is the “e-Verify” service that the Coyote Blog mentions.

    Reading the Coyote Blog piece, I think that the author has some valid points, and some invalid points.

    1: Possession of a driver’s license is not, and never has been, and should not be, proof of citizenship. After all, we don’t want people who are long term visitors from other countries (but not citizens, such as H-1B visa holders) to be driving ignorant of our traffic laws, right? Being authorized to drive in the US should certainly not be tied to citizenship.

    2: The restriction of EEV to within 3 days of hire is a restruction strictly for your privacy! What, do you want people trolling through employment records running checks on you every few months? Of course not. You only want the check run when it is proper to do so… at the time of hire.

    3: The Coyote Blog is correct, there is defnitely some inconsistencies in their law, like mandating the use of a system that is set to “disappear”, or running EEV against existing employees.

    4: Running EEV checks before the hire is of course illegal. Why? Because it provides (and requires) information that is illegal to request (for a variety of reasons) during the hiring process. For EEO (equal employment opportunity, aka “don’t discriminate!”) reasons, you can’t ask about citizenship status during the interview.

    The Arizona law seems to be intended to have employers verify with the Federal government that the paperwork that looked genuine at time of hire is indeed legitimate. I agree that it appears to contradict too many pre-existing laws.


    Comment by Justin James — 30 December 2007 @ 11:08

  2. I agree that it appears to contradict too many pre-existing laws.

    That appears to be the crux of the matter.

    Comment by apotheon — 30 December 2007 @ 11:34

  3. What about the blatant nepotism? I would hope that would be the crux of the matter, as it just completely bypasses the civil service exam just to continue a “tradition”. People are going to die because of this law.

    Comment by Joseph A Nagy Jr — 1 January 2008 @ 11:45

  4. […] found an a post over at apotheon’s blog about some new laws passed. The first linked to an article over at Coyote Blog about a new law that […]

    Pingback by Ameliorations — 1 January 2008 @ 11:46

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