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New protections for illegal alien workers

By Thomas M Lee

Employers who employ illegal aliens often use threats to report them to the USCIS for deportation in response to being sued for unpaid wages or to force them to work for below minimum wages. Starting in 2014, such employers will face stiff civil and criminal penalties.

1) SB 666 provides that an employer's business license can be suspended or revoked if they retaliate against anyone, including employees, on the basis of their immigration status. In addition, the employer can face a civil penalty up to $10,000 per violation.

2) AB 524 makes a threat to report the immigration status or suspected immigration status of an individual or the individual's family constitute criminal and civil extortion. This law is not limited to employers and includes anyone.

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