The California Immigrant Worker Protection Act goes into effect on January 1, 2018, regulating employer interactions with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. Here are some things employers need to know.
Employer Responsibilities and Prohibition
The California Immigrant Worker Protection Act requires employers to:
- Ask for a warrant or subpoena before granting ICE access to a worksite or employer documents or information.
- Notify employees before an audit of employee records such as I-9 forms, by hand if possible, within 72 hours of receiving notice of the inspection. If the employee is unionized, written notice must simultaneously be provided to the collective bargaining representative.
- Note: The Labor Commissioner has committed to providing by July 1, 2018 a template for employers to use when giving notice; however, by then AB 450 will have already been in effect for 6 months.
- Provide employees with a copy of the inspection results, by hand if possible, within 72 hours of receipt.
Employers will be prohibited from re-verifying the employment eligibility of a current employee unless specifically ordered to do so by federal law.
The law imposes statutory penalties for employers who refuse to abide by AB 450, as follows:
- Between $2,000 and $5,000 for a first violation.
- Between $5,000 and $10,000 for subsequent violations.
Enforcement will be under the exclusive authority of the Labor Commissioner or the Attorney General. Because penalties will be deposited in the Labor Enforcement and Compliance Fund, there will be no private enforcement under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).
Keep the Workplace Working
- Train field supervisors/receptionists/front office personnel and anyone else likely to interact with ICE on how to comply with AB 450.
- Review existing company policies to ensure they are in compliance with the new law.
- Consider drafting a company policy specifically dealing with ICE interactions.