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Federal Court Preliminarily Enjoins California Immigrant Worker Protection Act Employer Penalties

On July 4, 2018, Judge John Mendez of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California preliminarily enjoined California from enforcing some provisions of Assembly Bill 450 (AB 450), known as the “Immigrant Worker Protection Act.” The judge did so in response to the federal Department of Justice’s (DOJ) challenge to AB 450, Senate Bill 54 (the California Sanctuary State Law), and Assembly Bill 103, which directs the state attorney general to review and report on detention facilities housing noncitizens within California for civil violations of federal immigration laws. The court did not sustain the DOJ’s challenges to the other two statutes.

The court enjoined the sections of AB 450:

  • prohibiting employers from giving federal immigration agents access to the employers’ premises without a warrant;
  • prohibiting employers from consenting to federal immigration agents’ review of and obtaining employee records without a warrant; and
  • prohibiting employers from reverifying work eligibility unless specifically required by federal law.


As a result of the court’s ruling, California officials cannot fine employers for failing to follow those sections of AB 450.

The court did not enjoin AB 450 entirely, so employers still must abide by AB 450’s requirement that employers notify employees and their union (if any) within 72 hours of receiving a federal I-9 audit notice and/or a United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement site visit.

The DOJ and the State of California still are litigating this matter. 

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About this Author

Charles Thompson, Ogletree Deakins Law Firm, Employment Law Attorney

Charles L. Thompson IV counsels and defends employers in wrongful termination, discrimination, and other employment-related matters.  These areas include trade secrets and unfair competition, California and federal leaves of absence, ADA compliance, and wage and hour compliance.

Charles also represents employers in traditional labor law matters. He advises and represents employers in collective bargaining. He also represents employers in matters before the National Labor Relations Board, including in unfair labor practice and representation...