Under a new law effective January 1, 2018, California employers are now limited in how much employee access and employee information they can provide to immigration enforcement agents. California’s Immigrant Worker Protection Act provides a number of immigration-related changes designed to protect immigrant workers from certain federal enforcement measures. Those changes include that employers cannot voluntarily consent to allow U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to perform workplace inspections without legal documents such as a subpoena or judicial warrant. The new law also prohibits employers from consenting to enforcement agents accessing, reviewing, or obtaining employee records without a subpoena or judicial warrant.
Under the Act, the employer must also notify the employee within 72 hours of receiving a federal inspection notice of any requests from ICE to inspect a Form I-9. The employer must provide to the employee the name of the agency performing the inspection and the date the employer received notice of the inspection. The employer must also notify the employee of the nature of the inspection, to the extent the employer knows about it, and give the employee a copy of the federal inspection notice.
However, ICE may view Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 and other documents after providing three days’ notice to the employee and ICE officials may still enter public areas of workplaces.
After an inspection, the employer must also provide the affected employee with a copy of the immigration agency notice that provides for the inspection results and written notice of the obligations of the employer and employee within 72 hours of receipt. The notice is to be delivered by hand (or by mail or email) only to the affected employee. The notice outlines the deficiencies the employer must correct and the time period for doing so. The employee has the right to representation in any meeting scheduled with the employer.
An employer that fails to follow these new restrictions may be subject to fines by the Attorney General or Labor Commissioner of between $2,000 and $5,000 for the first violation and $5,000 and $10,000 for later violations.
For more information on this and other updates to California employment law, contact the experienced attorneys at Dennis Law Group today.