California Supreme Court: Undocumented status doesn’t bar back pay — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

California Supreme Court: Undocumented status doesn’t bar back pay

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

The California Supreme Court has ruled that federal immigration law does not preempt a California law that extends state law protections to all workers regardless of their immigration status. However, the court held that federal law does preempt state law on the issue of liability for lost wages for any period after an employer discovers that an employee is not authorized to work in the United States. (Salas v. Sierra Chemi­­cal Co., No. S196568, Cali­­for­­nia Supreme Court, 2014)

Injured at work, undocumented

Vicente worked as a seasonal em­­ployee for Sierra Chemical Co. since 2003. Twice he injured his back at work and, after the second injury, filed a workers’ compensation claim.

In 2006, he was laid off and not rehired, allegedly due to his disability. Vicente sued Sierra Chemical, alleging disability discrimination in violation of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and retaliation.

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