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Protecting Workers Rights

About

Workers rights and immigrant rights are inextricably linked, especially in California where immigrants comprise over a third of the workforce. Our state benefits deeply from the economic contributions of our diverse immigrant workforce, including those who are undocumented, who make up about one in ten workers in California. And yet, despite California’s leadership with some of the most progressive worker protection laws in the country, immigrant and refugee workers still face harassment, retaliation, and discrimination in the workplace because of their status.

In light of increasing federal attacks, California must uphold labor and employment standards and protect all workers’ labor and civil rights, regardless of immigration status. CIPC supports local campaigns and worker-led organizations and works to advance policies that protect immigrants in the workplace.

Our Work

Combating the use of E-Verify

E-Verify is a flawed, costly web-based program that lets U.S. businesses verify the work authorization of new hires. Right now, it’s optional for most employers. If E-Verify were required of all California businesses, errors in the database would kill the jobs of tens of thousands of work-authorized Californians. Many undocumented workers who are a crucial part of our economy would be at even greater risk of exploitation, abuse, and fear. As part of our efforts to combat the use of E-Verify:

Fighting document abuse and discriminatory audits

Document abuse occurs when an employer refuses to accept employment authorization documents that are acceptable under the I-9 form, limits which document a worker can use, or requests more documents that are legally required. This practice, steeped in anti-immigrant and worker exploitation, creates a deep fear that limits workers’ opportunities. As part of our efforts to stop this abuse:

  • In 2016, CIPC and MALDEF co-sponsored SB 1001 (Mitchell) to address the issue of document abuse in California. This law went into effect January 1, 2017, and prohibits an employer from requiring additional or other documents that are already required under the I-9 process. Learn more about document abuse and your rights under SB 1001 with our community fact sheet.
  • In 2017, CIPC supported the passage of The Immigrant Worker Protection Act, AB 450 (Chiu), which requires employers to notify employees when ICE requests access to or review a worker’s immigration paperwork, including I-9 forms. The law went into effect on January 1, 2018, and shortly thereafter was challenged in a federal court by the Trump administration. In July 2018, a U.S. District Court judge upheld this provision of the law in U.S. v. C.A., and it remains valid law. The judge also temporarily suspended other provisions, including one that requires employers to ask for a warrant before allowing ICE agents access to private areas of the workplace. This provision is currently under review in the Ninth Circuit. In the meantime, employers can still choose to require a warrant before granting ICE access to their workplace. See our announcement and joint statement on the AB 450, AB 103, and SB 54 lawsuit.

Contact

For more information, please contact:

Sasha Feldstein
Policy Analyst

For media inquiries, please contact:

Jon Rodney
Communications Director
For media inquiries: jrodney@caimmigrant.org