Developer screens subcontractors for immigration status

ALBANY -- A construction company involved in a project at Darton College is pulling all subcontractors used on the project into its own payroll and doing additional employment screening after illegal immigrants were found working on a separate project in Cobb County this week.

In a statement to The Herald Thursday, Zebra Construction officials said they will thoroughly screen their employees to verify their employment eligibility, Zebra Construction Legal Counsel Victor Certa wrote.

"Yes, given the sensitivity of the issue, Zebra Construction has checked with its other subs. In fact, to address all concerns, it is taking the additional precaution of converting subs at the Darton College job to its own payroll. In doing so, Zebra Construction will directly screen these workers through E-Verify and ensure that their employment eligibility is verified and properly recorded," Certa wrote.

There is no indication whether any contractors used on the Darton project were illegal or had undocumented workers.

State law requires contractors and subcontractors to verify

employment status through a federal program called E-Verify when they are working on public jobs. E-Verify is a database that checks social security numbers and immigration status of individual workers.

Zebra CEO Chip Kessler announced Tuesday the firing of his masonry subcontractor and 10 of the company's employees after a bricklayers union in Cobb County brought a complaint that the workers were, in fact, undocumented illegal aliens.

Zebra has been working on the Darton campus as a part of a $618,000 contract for a student recreation Center, according to the company's Web site.

Certa said the company is now screening employees at its various public projects in an effort to comply with the law.

"This should address all concerns and is part of Zebra's commitment to

fully comply with all legal requirements," Certa said.