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On September 11 the California Legislature closed its 2015-16 Legislative Session which sent Governor Brown a handful of employment-related bills that he needs to either sign or veto in the coming weeks. One of the more controversial of the bills awaiting Brown’s signature is AB 622, the E-Verify bill that would add section 2814 to California Labor Code.

If signed, the bill would prevent employers from using the E-Verify system to check the employment authorization status of both existing employees and job applicants, except as required by federal law or as a condition of receiving federal funds. The computerized system is operated and maintained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration and allows employers to voluntarily use it to verify that employees are authorized to work in the United States.

e-verify-bill-ab-622-quick-facts-for-californians.jpg

On September 11 the California Legislature closed its 2015-16 Legislative Session which sent Governor Brown a handful of employment-related bills that he needs to either sign or veto in the coming weeks. One of the more controversial of the bills awaiting Brown’s signature is AB 622, the E-Verify bill that would add section 2814 to California Labor Code.

If signed, the bill would prevent employers from using the E-Verify system to check the employment authorization status of both existing employees and job applicants, except as required by federal law or as a condition of receiving federal funds. The computerized system is operated and maintained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in partnership with the Social Security Administration and allows employers to voluntarily use it to verify that employees are authorized to work in the United States.

The passing of AB 622 would further California’s initiatives on being a pacesetter for immigration, and expand the rights of undocumented immigrant workers. Some argue that it would pose more of a security threat, while others feel it can aid in solving the U.S. immigration crisis.

To take a stance on the issue, the following facts can help you understand the bill that would help grant more protections for the estimated 2.5 million undocumented immigrants residing in the state of California.

E-Verify Bill AB 622 Quick Facts

It won’t prohibit employers from voluntarily using E-Verify. Employers would still be able to use the E-Verify system to check the employment authorization status of those who have been offered employment, and AB 622 wouldn’t affect their right to do so.

It will limit the misuse of the E-Verify system. An employer caught abusing E-Verify would have financial and civil penalties. If the bill’s provisions are violated, the employer would pay the price of $10,000 per violation.

It will protect immigrant workers from discrimination and retaliation. The current E-Verify program is devoid of worker protections and due process, but AB 622 would expand the definition of an unlawful employment practice where employers check the employment authorization status of existing employees or applicants who have not yet been offered employment.

In addition to these facts, backers of the bill say that it could also help provide California with economic growth if signed into law. Undocumented immigrants currently make up 10 percent of the California workforce and pay $2 billion in local and state taxes each year.

Governor Brown isn’t new to signing immigration legislation into law. In fact, in recent years he has signed several important pieces that have protected and expanded the rights of California immigrants, including granting driver’s licenses to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants.

Brown has a deadline to sign or veto the AB 622 E-Verify bill by October 11, 2015.

If you’re facing workplace discrimination, harassment or employer retaliation due to your national origin, it’s important to know that these negative employer behaviors are unlawful. Rest assured that the expert California employment attorneys of Hennig Ruiz are here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.