- On Jan. 1, a California law took effect that prohibits employers from providing "voluntary consent" to a federal immigration enforcement agent's request to enter nonpublic work areas — and California's attorney general recently said he will indeed "prosecute those who violate the law," the Sacramento Bee reports.
- The law, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act, makes it so employers must ask for a warrant if federal agents try to enter nonpublic spaces and a subpoena if they want confidential employee information.
- Media reports in the state suggest that the new law may confuse California employers and their front-line employees, who may think that they have to comply with federal agents at all times to remain above board.
For employers in California, this law adds a new layer of complexity to managing a workforce with immigrants — an issue that's received considerable attention from the current administration. Employers in the Golden State will need to train managers and front-facing employees on what to do should Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents show up on your property, as allowing them access to non-public areas or confidential records will violate California law.
ICE has promised to quadruple workplace visits, especially within the food industry, thus making renewed training a priority in California locations. Ensure your I-9s process is up-to-date, especially since the document has seen multiple updates within the past year, and consider having a lawyer review any documents ICE may provide.