Search This Blog

Friday, March 1, 2013

Salas v. Sierra Chemical: Supreme Court Orders Additional Briefing on Remedies Available to Undocumented Workers

In Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co. (Case No. S196568), the California Supreme Court will consider whether an employee's use of a false social security number to obtain employment prevents the employee from later suing his employer for disability discrimination. The issues stated:
Did the trial court err in dismissing plaintiff's claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (Gov. Code § 12900 et seq.) on grounds of after-acquired evidence and unclean hands, based on plaintiff's use of false documentation to obtain employment in the first instance?  
Did Senate Bill No. 1818 (2001-2002 Reg. Session) preclude application of those doctrines in this case? (See Civ. Code § 3339; Gov. Code § 7285; Health & Saf. Code § 24000; Lab. Code § 1171.5.) 
On February 27, the Court asked the parties to address an additional issue:
Does federal immigration law preempt state law and thereby preclude an undocumented worker from obtaining, as a remedy for a violation of "state labor and employment laws" (Lab. Code § 1171.5; Civ. Code § 3339; Gov. Code § 7285; Health & Saf. Code § 24000), an award of compensatory remedies, including backpay? (See Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB (2002) 535 U.S. 137.) 
I take this as a sign of Justice Liu's influence on the Court.  Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but it reminds me of his focus on available remedies at the Harris v. City of Santa Monica oral argument, and I believe that he is likely the one turning the Court's focus to the remedies available here.  Very interesting.  

The Court's Case Summary page is here, and Salas is on our watch list.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.