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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Salas v. Sierra Chemical: Court Schedules Oral Argument In Undocumented Worker Case

In Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co. (Supreme Court Case No. S196568, docket here), 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.)
The Court has scheduled Salas for oral argument on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, at 9:00 a.m., in Los Angeles. The Court's decision will be due 90 days later, or July 1, 2014.

We are working to bring you a Watch List webinar on the decision shortly after it comes down. 

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