New Law Affecting California Employers: Immigration Related Unfair Practices (Effective January 1, 2017)

In September of 2016, the California legislature approved an amendment to the California state labor code, prohibiting certain conduct by employers when complying with the employment authorization and verification under 8 US Code sect. 1324 (a)(b) “Employment Verification System”. This amendment was approved by Governor Brown in 2016 and it became effective as of January 1, 2017.

Section 1019.1, added to the California Labor Code, provides that it shall be unlawful for an employer, while attempting to comply with the verification requirements of sect. 1324 (a)(b), above, to:

(1) Request more or different documents than are required under Section 1324a(b) of Title 8 of the United States Code.

(2) Refuse to honor documents tendered that on their face reasonably appear to be genuine.

(3) Refuse to honor documents or work authorization based upon the specific status or term of status that accompanies the authorization to work.

(4) Attempt to reinvestigate or reverify an incumbent employee’s authorization to work using an unfair immigration-related practice.

This California law, essentially serves to mirror the federal law and makes it unlawful for an employer to request more or different documents than those required under federal law or to go beyond the scope of the federal law, as specified in 8 USC 1324 (a)(b).

The California law imposes a penalty of up to $10,000 on any person found in violation of this law.

(b) (1) Any person who violates this section shall be subject to a penalty imposed by the Labor Commissioner and liability for equitable relief.

(2) An applicant for employment or an employee who is subject to an unlawful act that is prohibited by this section, or a representative of that applicant for employment or employee, may file a complaint with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement pursuant to Section 98.7.

(3) The penalty recoverable by the applicant or employee, or by the Labor Commissioner, for a violation of this section shall not exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per violation.

Employers are advised to review the requirements of applicable federal law, 8 US Code Section 1324 (a) and ensure their policies and practices are in compliance with these provisions.

Law Office of Atoosa Vakili
US Immigration Legal Services
Tel: 949-667-0976

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