Manuel v. Superior Court of Santa Clara CountyAnnotate this Case
Manuel sued for wrongful termination after he was injured during the course of his employment with BrightView. The parties dispute whether Manuel’s employment was terminated in retaliation for his job injury or whether he failed to return to work due to federal immigration authorities questioning his eligibility to work in the United States. After Manuel objected to BrightView’s written discovery requests concerning his immigration status, BrightView obtained an order compelling Manuel to provide further responses to its discovery requests.
The court of appeal vacated and directed the trial court to deny BrightView’s discovery motion. BrightView did not meet its burden, under Senate Bill No. 1818 (2002, codified, in part at Labor Code section 1171.5), to show that inquiry into his immigration status was necessary to comply with federal immigration law. Senate Bill 1818 declared that “[a]ll protections, rights, and remedies available under state law, except any reinstatement remedy prohibited by federal law, are available to all individuals regardless of immigration status who have applied for employment, or who are or who have been employed, in this state." A former employee’s status as an unauthorized worker is not a complete defense to a claim of wrongful termination. BrightView may not propound discovery inquiring into Manuel’s immigration status absent any showing of clear and convincing evidence that Manuel is seeking remedies for wrongful termination in violation of federal immigration law.