A recent audit has found Georgia's Department of Agriculture failed to use E-Verify to check whether new employees were eligible to work, which state law has required of public employers since 2007.
Federal officials say the department did not register to use the database until April 2012. E-Verify is used to make sure new hires are eligible to work in the United States.
The requirement targeting illegal immigrants initially took effect while Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin was in office. He was succeeded by Commissioner Gary Black in 2011.
Department spokeswoman Mary Kathryn Yearta says the department's personnel office was not using the system as required. She said all new hires are now being checked.