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Employer May Not Inquire Into Former Employee’s Immigration Status


Manuel v. Superior Court, 82 Cal. App. 5th 719 (2022)

Rigoberto Jose Manuel sued his former employer, BrightView Landscape Services, Inc., for wrongful termination after he was injured on the job.  Manuel alleged his employment was terminated in retaliation for his job injury; BrightView asserted that Manuel failed to return to work due to federal immigration authorities’ questioning his eligibility to work in the United States.  Manuel objected to BrightView’s discovery requests inquiring into his immigration status, but the trial court granted BrightView’s motion to compel further responses.  In this writ proceeding, however, the Court of Appeal granted Manuel’s petition for a peremptory writ of mandate and directed the trial court to deny BrightView’s motion compelling Manuel to provide further responses.  The appellate court held that Cal. Lab. Code § 1171.5 precludes discovery of a person’s immigration status unless the person seeking to make such an inquiry has shown by clear and convincing evidence that the inquiry is necessary in order to comply with federal immigration law.


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