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Immigration status can create legal issues for employers

Employers in California are bound by a series of state and federal laws that dictate the treatment of employees. Everything from the questions that can be asked on a job application to grounds for termination, if an employer isn't careful, they could find themselves breaking the law and facing consequences as a result. Using the example of an employee's immigration status, we can see this fact in action.

Under federal employment law, it is illegal for any employer to hire an employee who is not authorized to work in the United States because of their immigration status. Let's assume for a moment though that the employee obtains employment through fraudulent means. Federal law then states that an employer can be held liable for continuing employment of that worker.

Considering all of this, it could be assumed by some of our Pasadena readers that any California employer has the right to terminate the employment of an unauthorized immigrant after learning that they are unauthorized to work in the U.S. Though this would be logical to assume, there is at least one state law that creates some legal problems for employers in our state: SB 1818.

Under this law, employment law protections are extended to all persons, regardless of their immigration status. As the California Supreme Court case of Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co. shows, state law extended the right to file a discrimination claim to a former employee who was also an unauthorized immigrant. But as the court pointed out in its final decision, federal law did come into play, limiting the damages the employee could receive.

Whether you're dealing with state laws or federal ones, or even a combination of both, legal challenges are oftentimes just around the corner, which is why it is a good idea to obtain the services of a skilled business law attorney right away. Because of their understanding of the law and their commitment to a fair resolution, you can rest assured that they will help you through whatever challenge is at hand.

Sources: Cornell University Law School, "8 U.S.C. ยง 1324a," Accessed May 29, 2015

Leginfo.ca.gov, "SB 1818," Accessed May 29, 2015

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