On October 5, 2017, Governor Brown signed AB 450, the “Immigrant Worker Protection Act,” which becomes effective on January 1, 2018. The new law regulates how employers interact with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
Employer Responsibilities, Prohibition, and Penalties Under AB 450
- Requires employers to:
- Ask for a warrant or subpoena before granting ICE access to a worksite or employer documents or information.
- Notify employees both before an audit of employee records (e.g., I-9 forms) and also afterwards with the results of that audit within 72 hours of receiving notice of either the inspection or the results respectively. If the employee is unionized, written notice must also be provided to the collective bargaining representative at the same time.
- Note: The Labor Commissioner has committed to providing a template for employers when giving notice by July 1, 2018, however by that point, AB 450 will have already been in effect for 6 months.
- Provide employees with a copy of the notice, by hand, if possible, that provides the inspection results within 72 hours of receipt.
- Prohibits an employer from:
- Re-verifying the employment eligibility of a current employee unless specifically ordered to do so by federal law.
- Imposes statutory penalties for employers who refuse to abide by AB 450 of between:
- $2,000 and $5,000 for a first violation.
- $5,000 and $10,000 for subsequent violations.
Enforcement of the law will be under the exclusive authority of the Labor Commissioner or the Attorney General. Penalties will be deposited in the Labor Enforcement and Compliance Fund. Therefore, there will be no private enforcement under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act.
Keep the Workplace Working
- Train field supervisors/receptionists/front office personnel and anyone else likely to interact with ICE on how to stay within the requirements of AB 450.
- Review existing company policies to ensure they comply with the new law.
- Consider drafting a policy stating how the employer will interact with ICE.