United States: New Year Brings Major Changes To California Employers' Immigration Practices

Soon after ringing in the New Year, California employers will need to spend the beginning of 2018 coming to grips with a significant new law that will require an immediate adjustment to immigration-related business practices. California Assembly Bill 450, also known as the Immigrant Worker Protection Act, will go into effect on January 1, 2018, bringing about strict new requirements for all employers in the state regarding the handling of a government audit or investigation of premises or employee records. The new law includes mandatory notice requirements and additional prohibitions against access to public workspaces that goes above and beyond what is required under federal law.

Here are the most frequently asked questions that will provide you with a good starting point on complying with the law. We suggest you contact any member of the Fisher Phillips Global Immigration Practice Group, or your regular Fisher Phillips attorney, to assist with compliance efforts.

When does AB450 go into effect?

Governor Brown signed AB450 on October 5, 2017, with an effective date of January 1, 2018.

Who does the law apply to?

Every public and private employer in California, or any person acting on the employer's behalf.

What is required or prohibited under AB450? 

First and foremost, the law prohibits employers or their representatives from waiving their 4th Amendment protection from searches and seizures in certain immigration-related situations. Namely, you are not permitted to allow immigration enforcement agents to enter nonpublic workspaces without a judicial warrant, and you are similarly not permitted to provide employment records to immigration enforcement agents without a subpoena or judicial warrant.

Second, the law requires employers to give employees and their representatives notice of audits by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, commonly known as ICE. Within 72 hours of receipt of a Notice of Inspection (NOI) from ICE, you must notify your employees and any applicable union. Upon reasonable request, you must also provide a copy of the NOI to any affected employee. Also, you must provide the results of any inspection and obligations of the employer and affected employee(s) arising from the results of the inspection within 72 hours of receipt.

Third, the new law prohibits employers from re-verifying employment documentation of affected employees unless otherwise required to comply with the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) or E-Verify.

How do the requirements under AB450 differ from current law? 

Current law permits you to allow an immigration enforcement agent (i.e., an ICE officer) to enter nonpublic workspaces and to provide them employment records upon request. Employers usually have a three-day notice period in which to provide employment records, but under current law they can waive this and submit documentation upon request. Moreover, current law does not require you to disclose to your workforce that an I-9 audit or investigation is underway, and also does not require you to disclose the result of any I-9 audit or investigation to any member of your workforce.

What are the notice requirements under AB450 to employees? 

Within 72 hours of receiving a NOI, you must post notice at worksite in language normally used to communicate employment-related information to employees. The posted notice must inform your employees that an immigration agency has issued an NOI and will conduct inspections of I-9 forms or other employment records. You must identify which agency has issued the notice, provide the date that the NOI was received, and describe the nature of the inspection (to the extent known). If an affected employee makes a reasonable request, you must provide them with a copy of the NOI.

After receiving notice of any inspection results, you must provide current "affected employees" and their authorized representative(s) a copy of the results within 72 hours. You must also provide any written notice of the obligations of the employer and the affected employee arising from the action. The notice shall relate to the employee only, and shall be delivered by hand at the workplace if possible. If hand delivery is not possible, the notice should be delivered by mail and email. This notice must describe any and all deficiencies or other items identified in the inspection results that relate to the affected employee, state the time period for correcting any potential deficiencies, state the time and date of any meeting with employer to correct any identified deficiencies, and inform the employee of their right to representation during any meeting scheduled with you.

What are the notice requirements to any unions representing your workers? 

Similarly, within 72 hours of receiving any NOI, you must give written notice to the "employee's authorized representative" – in other words, a union. Also, within 72 hours of receiving notice of the inspection results, you must provide current affected employees and their union a copy of the results along with a written notice of your obligations as well as the obligations of the affected employee arising from the action.

The written notice to the union must describe any and all deficiencies or other items identified in the inspection results that relate to the affected employee and provide a time period for correcting any potential deficiencies. You also must state the time and date of any meeting scheduled with your organization to correct any identified deficiencies, and inform the employee of their right to representation during any meeting scheduled with you.

What does AB450 say about re-verification of I-9s? 

The new law prohibits you from re-verifying the employment eligibility of any current employee at a time or in a manner not required under IRCA or per E-Verify obligations. Remember: California law prohibits you from terminating the employment of a worker because they present you with new documentation for I-9 and work authorization eligibility, and E-Verify can only be used with new hires – no exceptions.

What are the penalties for violations of AB450? 

The good news is that the California Labor Commissioner and the Attorney General have exclusive authority to enforce these provisions, so you will not be facing private lawsuits alleging violations of the new law. The bad news is that the penalties are quite stiff. The first violation could bring a fine between $2,000 and $5,000, while the second violation and each subsequent violation thereafter could bring fines between $5,000 and $10,000.

Moreover, the Labor Commission may recover up to a $10,000 penalty for each instance an employer re-verifies the employment eligibility of a current employee at a time or in a manner not required by federal law.

What are best practices employers can take to stay in compliance with both federal and state law? 

  • Immigration Point Person: You should start by immediately designating an "Immigration Point Person" in your organization. They will be responsible for communicating with any ICE officer who visits your workplace, and they should be the only person providing any information to ICE. Make sure that everyone in your organization, including office personnel, knows the identity of your Immigration Point Person. In the event you receive a NOI, this point person should immediately notify management and legal counsel.
  • Prepare For Office Visits: You should next train your managers for the correct way to handle a visit from an ICE officer. If an ICE officer appears onsite, train your staff to ensure that the officer is kept in a public workspace. Make sure your representatives know that they should not bring them to the back offices or other nonpublic worksites. Have your Immigration Point Person talk with the officer to understand the specific nature of the request. Your point person should politely ask the officer if they have a NOI, subpoena, or a search warrant. If the officer has no such documentation, your point person should inform them that a search or document review will not be permitted.
  • Handling Lawful Search Warrants: If the officer provides such a document, make sure your point person reviews it very carefully and immediately provides a copy to designated individuals – human resources staff, legal personal, management representatives – for their review. If the document is a search warrant, make sure your staff knows not to resist the lawful search. Instead, your point person should contact management and legal counsel immediately to make them aware.
  • Handling Subpoenas Or Notices Of Inspection: But if the document is a subpoena or NOI, train your point person to inform the officer that your company requests at least three business days' notice before any inspection of paperwork can take place. Moreover, make sure your point person knows that NOI's and subpoenas do not permit ICE officers to talk with employees, and that you should refuse any request by the officer to speak with specific employees. During this window of time, you should comply with the new state law and provide the required notice to employees and employee representatives in the necessary timeframe. You should next prepare for the inspection or audit of your immigration practices, ensuring that you do not destroy or alter any I-9 documents.
  • Prepare For Audit: Finally, select an appropriate location for the onsite audit, preferably a conference or meeting room where there will be no interruptions and limited access to employees. During the audit, have your point person take careful note of any alleged violations mentioned by the auditor. After the audit has been completed, your point person should ask the auditor for assistance in understanding any alleged problems.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions