In Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co., No. S196568 (Cal. June 26, 2014), the California Supreme Court has ruled that federal immigration law did not preempt California law extending employee protections and remedies “regardless of immigration status,” except to the extent it authorized damages for any period after the employer’s discovery of an employee’s ineligibility to work in the United States. An employee who repeatedly falsified his employment status to obtain employment, as his employer learned only after he was laid off a second time and filed suit, was not barred by the doctrines of “after-acquired evidence” or “unclean hands” from asserting claims for alleged disability discrimination against his employer under California law. However, the Court held the employee’s right to lost compensation was limited to the period preceding the employer’s discovery of the misconduct. As this case raises policy concerns regarding preemption under federal immigration law, it is possible U.S. Supreme Court review may be sought.
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