DACA and employment law

Some Arizona business owners are likely employing people who are protected by DACA. However, if they employ them after their work permits expire, those owners could face jail time or a fine for doing so. Although DACA may be ending soon, employers are urged to refrain from terminating workers or asking about their immigration status as this could be seen as discrimination.

Leaders of large companies such as Facebook and Apple have spoken out against the end of DACA. It is also possible that the program could be extended or otherwise kept in place in some fashion by Congress. Employers should note that workers who currently have valid work permits can remain employed legally for as long as their permit allows them to. As most permits are valid for two years, some may be able to remain employed past the time when DACA is scheduled to be rescinded.

Employers should know that it is currently illegal to not hire someone because of their DACA status. This is according to the Department of Justice, but some who study the issue say that those in the country as part of this program may not be a protected class under the law. Finally, employers should not ask a worker for proof of eligibility to work in the United States unless their work permit has already expired.

If an employee believes that he or she has been targeted because of immigration status or other issues not related to performance, it may be grounds for a lawsuit. An employee who was wrongfully terminated based on immigration status may be entitled to back pay and other damages. An attorney may be able to review the case and take steps to help a worker obtain damages or protect his or her rights in general.

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Elizabeth D. Tate, Attorney at Law
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