The Florida Legislature recently introduced legislation (Senate Bill (SB) 1718) that would ramp up the penalties imposed on counties and municipalities that “knowingly employ, hire, recruit, or refer, either for herself or himself or on behalf of another, for private or public employment within the state, an alien who is not duly authorized to work.” If enacted, the bill would increase what are already considerable penalties for public employers.
The bill would amend Title XXXI of the Florida Statutes, Section 448.09 to increase the penalty for public employers for a first violation from $500 to $1,000. Subsequent violations would constitute a second-degree misdemeanor and carry a fine of $2,500 per unauthorized worker.
In addition, the bill would amend the state’s labor law to allow for random audits of a public employer’s employment eligibility documentation by, amongst other agencies, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The bill would also establish a new provision that an undocumented immigrant who works using false identification documents commits a third-degree felony.
The bill was introduced on March 14, 2023, and was referred to the Senate Committee on Fiscal Policy on March 17. If the bill is enacted, it will become effective on July 1, 2023.
Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor developments with respect to SB 1718 and other state immigration policy changes and will post updates on the Florida and Immigration blogs as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.