Effective Aug 10, 2016, the Colorado Verification law (better known as the “Colorado Affirmation”) will no longer be required. On June 8, 2016, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law House Bill 16-1114, repealing the state’s statutory requirements that virtually mirrored the employment verification laws of the Form I-9, and imposed additional and unnecessary burdens on Colorado companies.
Reviewing the Colorado Verification Law
The Colorado Verification Law - Section 8-2-122 of the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) mandated that in addition to complying with Form I-9 regulations, all public and private employers conducting business in Colorado verify and document the lawful employment eligibility of all employees newly hired on and after January 1, 2007.
The two key components of the law required Colorado employers to: (1) make an affirmation within 20 calendar days after hiring a new employee and keep a written or electronic copy of the same, and (2) keep a written or electronic copy of the employee's identification and work authorization documents required by the Form I-9. Employers were required to retain the attestation form and document copies for the duration of the employee’s employment.
The affirmation itself required employers to attest to having done the following:
- Examined the legal work status of the employee;
- Retained file copies of the documents required by 8 U.S.C. §1324a;
- Not altered or falsified the employee’s identification documents; and
- Not knowingly hired an unauthorized alien
Much like the Form I-9, the Mandatory Affirmation Form and its supporting documents need not be submitted to the Colorado Division of Labor, but rather retained by the company and only provided upon request by the Division. Non-compliance with this process ranged anywhere from $5,000 for a first offense, up to $25,000 for second and subsequent offenses.
Repeal Removes Unnecessary and Redundant Burden on Colorado Employers
The Colorado legislature recognized that the additional state employment verification affidavit and documentation requirements were unnecessary and redundant, and imposed an additional burden on businesses without doing anything further to prevent unauthorized individuals from working in the state.
The legislature did not repeal Section 8-2-122 in its entirety, however. Instead, the new law eliminates the affirmation steps, but preserves language allowing the Colorado Division of Labor to require employers to present documentation proving their compliance with Form I-9 employment verification requirements. The Director of the Colorado Division of Labor still reserves the right to conduct audits to ensure compliance.
What Should Colorado Employers Do Next?
August 10, 2016 marks the effective date of the repeal, so employers are expected to continue their current compliance practices until that date, including the Colorado verification requirements and the Form I-9 requirements. For new employees hired on or after August 10, 2016, employers must only comply with the Form I-9 employment verification requirements.
With regard to the Colorado affirmation forms and copies of authorization documents currently on file, employers are encouraged to retain them for the duration of the employee’s employment, as this was the requirement at the time of hire. Once an employee leaves a company, the employer may destroy the Colorado affirmation forms but continue to retain the I-9 forms for one year after the date of termination, or three years after the date of hire, whichever is later.
Stay tuned to I-9 Advantage for more information regarding Form I-9 and E-Verify.