Court Protects Immigrant Workers Against Employer Discrimination

Last month, the California Supreme Court ruled that the state protects victims of job discrimination even if they are immigrants who illegally use somebody else’s Social Security numbers to get their jobs.

The real effect of the decision might not be much, because many of these workers are afraid of being deported if they sue their employers. But the ruling also might deter the kind of employers who take advantage of immigrants without green cards, assuming they won’t sue if they’re not paid. The law at issue here was designed to address such abuses.

The ruling was the result of a lawsuit by Vicente Salas. After he suffered a job-related back injury, Sierra Chemical Co., his former employer, refused to accommodate his disability, he claimed, and rehire him for seasonal work as retaliation for Salas filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Sierra Chemical Co. had gotten the lawsuit dismissed after showing evidence that Salas allegedly had used someone else’s Social Security number when he applied for the job. An appeals court upheld the dismissal, but the Supreme Court said federal immigration regulations didn’t pre-empt a state law protecting workers regardless of immigration status.

Read the whole story on the Los Angeles Times.