A heap of new laws will becoming effective this year in California, and many will directly affect employers and employees. In particular, one new law, AB 2751, bans retaliation against an employee for immigration-status reasons.
Prior to AB 2751, California law prohibited “an employer or any other person from engaging in, or directing another person to engage in, an unfair immigration-related practice against a person for the purpose of, or with the intent of, retaliating against any person for exercising a right protected under state labor and employment laws or under a local ordinance applicable to employees, as specified.”
California law previously considered an “unfair immigration-related” practice to include, among other things, threatening to file or filing a false police report. AB 2751 expands the definition of “unfair immigration-related” practice to include the threatening to file or the filing of a false report or complaint with any state or federal agency. Under the new law, a person who is the subject of an unfair immigration-related practice will be able to bring a civil action for equitable relief and any applicable damages or penalties.
AB 2751 also makes it illegal for an employer to fire or discriminate, retaliate, or take any adverse action against an employee because the employee updates or attempts to update personal information based on a lawful change of name, social security number, or federal employment authorization document. If an employer does so, the employee will have a claim of discrimination against the employer.
This new law restricts employers from taking disciplinary action against employees who misrepresented their personal information, including their criminal history and immigration status. If an employer receives new information about an employee’s immigration status, the employer should consult with an attorney before making a decision to terminate the employee. Under AB 271, employers can face a business license suspensions and a $10,000 penalty, which will be awarded to the employee or employees who suffered a violation under the new law.
Sacramento, CA 95821