Illegal Immigrants/Undocumented Workers May Be Protected Under Employment Laws

Gordon Law Group

The California Supreme Court defined some parameters of employment law regulations when it ruled in favor of an illegal immigrant/undocumented worker who sued an employer for an unlawful firing.  The employer tried to argue that the fact the worker was undocumented was a form of misconduct that justified the termination, but the Court was not swayed.

Details of the Case

  • A worker gained employment by providing a falsified Social Security number and resident alien card.
  • Due to changes in work needs, he was laid off and rehired several time. On each occasion, he provided the same falsified forms.
  • The worker was injured and filed a workers’ compensation claim.
  • The worker was laid off again without reinstatement.
  • The worker sued the employer for retaliation and failure to provide a disability accommodation.
  • Before trial, the employer learned of the worker’s illegal immigrant status.

The Court’s Ruling

Though the California Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the company, the state Supreme Court overturned the decision. It concluded that the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act did not preempt California’s anti-discrimination act, which states in part that “All protections, rights and remedies available under state law… are available to all individuals regardless of immigration status who have applied for employment, or who are or who have been employed, in this state.”

For questions about this court determination or any other employment regulation, contact us today.

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