On October 5, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed more than 10 bills dealing with the protection of immigrants, especially those working in California. The most notable bill, SB 54 (known as the California Values Act), prohibits state and local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security departments, from using money or personnel to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes. Effective January 1, 2018, SB 54 “strikes a balance that will protect public safety while bringing a measure of comfort to those families who are now living in fear every day,” according to Governor Brown.
Immigrant Worker Protection Act – AB 450
While the goal of SB 54 is to protect undocumented immigrants living in California, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act (AB 450) makes California one of the first states to provide protections for immigrants at the worksite. AB 450 imposes various requirements on public and private employers with regard to federal agency immigration worksite enforcement actions. Except where required by federal law, AB 450 prohibits an employer or other person acting on the employer’s behalf from providing voluntary consent to an immigration enforcement agent to enter nonpublic areas of a place of labor unless the agent provides a judicial warrant. In short, AB 450 puts in place the following requirements:
- Requires employers to ask for a warrant before allowing federal immigration officials into a workplace to interview employees
- Bars employers from sharing employees’ confidential information (e.g. Social Security numbers) without a subpoena except for I-9s or other documents when a Notice of Inspection has been provided
- Establishes penalties ranging from $2,000 up to $5,000 for a first violation and $5,000 up to $10,000 for each subsequent violation for employers that: a) fail to give employees public notice within 72 hours of an upcoming federal immigration inspection of employee records (including written notice to any Collective Bargaining Representative) or b) fail to provide affected employees with a copy of any Notice of Inspection and a copy of any inspection results within 72 hours
- Except as required by federal law, AB 450 prohibits an employer from reverifying the employment eligibility of a current employee at a time or in a manner not required by specified federal law. The bill would prescribe a penalty of up to $10,000 for a violation of this prohibition to be recoverable by the Labor Commissioner.
Governor Brown’s Comments on AB 450
“Governor Brown understands that in an environment of division and fear, California must continue to defend its workers, to guard its values, and to ensure that its laws protect all of our residents,” said Assemblymember Chiu, author of the bill and a son of immigrants and a former civil rights attorney. “AB 450 demonstrates California’s determination to protect our economy and the people who are working hard to contribute to our communities and raise their families in dignity. At the same time, we are offering employers clarity about what to do when ICE agents target their places of business with indiscriminate raids.”
“Immigrant workers shouldn’t have to live in fear on the job,” said California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski. “AB 450 builds on California’s proud tradition of protecting all workers. Given the threats immigrants face, this law is critical to California’s efforts to keep workers safe and families from being ripped apart.”
California Employment Law
An experienced California employment lawyer can quickly answer your questions about the Immigrant Worker Protection Act. To discuss these developments, or any of California’s labor laws, feel free to contact leading California employment lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley. Call toll-free at (888) 500-8469 or click here to contact us via email.
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