Salas v. Sierra Chem. Co.Annotate this Case
Plaintiff, an unauthorized alien, was injured while working for his employer (Defendant) and was later was laid off during Defendant’s seasonal reduction of workers. Plaintiff sued, alleging that Defendant violated the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) by failing to provide reasonable accommodations for his disability and by retaliating against him for filing a workers’ compensation claim. During discovery, Defendant learned that Plaintiff had misrepresented to Defendant his eligibility under federal law to work in the United States. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendant, and the Court of Appeal affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiff’s action was barred by the doctrines of after-acquired evidence and unclean hands; and (2) the application for those doctrines was not precluded by S.B. 1818, which extends state law employee protections and remedies to all individuals regardless of immigration status. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) S.B. 1818 is not preempted by federal immigration law; and (2) the doctrines of after-acquired evidence and unclean hands are not complete defenses to a worker’s claims under California’s FEHA.