Court Upholds Most of California Laws Protecting Immigrant Rights

Good news for California’s immigrant workers.  On July 5, 2018, a federal court in Sacramento issued its order denying the U.S.’s motion for preliminary injunction of three California laws aimed at protecting the community and its citizens.  The Court upheld SB 54, AB 103 and a crucial provision of AB 450—the Immigrant Worker Protection Act—which provides workers with notice of I-9 audits.  These laws remain in effect for now.

Labor Code Section 90.2, codified by AB 450, requires employers to provide notice to their employees of any inspections of I-9 forms within 72 hours of receiving said notice of inspection.  It also requires employers to provide each current affected employee with the results of the inspection.  Employers who fail to comply with the notice requirements are subject to civil penalties.

The Court, citing to the brief for amici filed by the California Labor Federation, SEIU State Council, and others, upheld AB 450’s notice provisions in Labor Code Section 90.2 because they “provide employees with an opportunity to cure any deficiencies in their paperwork or employment eligibility.”  This ruling is an important victory for all workers in California.

Other provisions of AB 450 were enjoined (prohibited from going into effect).  The order enjoins the reverification prohibition in Labor Code Section 1019.2 and the consent and warrant requirements of Government Code Sections 7285.1 and 7285.2.  We previously reported on AB 450 here.

What happens next?
Although the provisions are currently enjoined, the litigation will continue on the merits of each of the laws before the federal court.

While the sponsors and authors of AB 450 are disappointed by the Court’s decision on two of the law’s provisions, nothing prohibits employers from continuing to require judicial warrants from immigration enforcement agents seeking to enter non-public areas of their place of business.  Employers can voluntarily refuse to provide consent and demand judicial warrants before allowing intrusive entry and searches of the private areas of their businesses.

For further questions, please contact your labor law counsel.

By Monica Guizar | July 5, 2018

Legal Developments