This morning I received news of a California Appellate Court decision in the case of an illegal immigrant who alleges discrimination in the workplace by the employer. Although I will not take the time to research the particulars of this case, especially when I am not a lawyer but a Christian pastor, I was alarmed by the decision.
Here is the decision:
In Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co., the California Court of Appeal held that an employee not authorized to work in the United States could not pursue discrimination and retaliation employment claims. The court reasoned that the undocumented worker had no recourse for alleged losses tied to an employment position for which he is not lawfully qualified. In addition, the court found that it would be inequitable to provide the plaintiff with any relief in light of his misconduct in the form of misrepresenting to his employer his ability to lawfully work in the United States.
I am not in favor of illegal immigration. I myself am an immigrant but I entered this country legally and in accordance with the laws of this country. I am now an American citizen. I am not going to discuss the multiple reasons, and there are many, too many to number, why people find the necessity to leave their countries of origin and go and live in a different country. I am also not going to discuss here why some people enter this country in an illegal fashion. It is enough to say that not all illegal immigrants are criminals or drug dealers.
I repeat what I said at the beginning of the above paragraph, I am not in favor of illegal immigration. I believe all nations in this world need to protect their borders, especially when illegal immigration threatens the stability of that country. However, if I interpret the above decision correctly, the Court has just opened the doors to abuses of all kinds (no fair pay, no pay at all, no vacation time) against men and women by their employers. Perhaps they should not have been employed in the first place; perhaps these employers should be heavily penalized for breaking the law themselves, but once employed these workers should be protected against abuses on the simple basis of them being human beings.
As a Bible believing Christian who accepts the entire Bible as the Word of God, I find that God calls us to treat all people with kindness and the same respect we would want ourselves to receive from others and this includes the immigrants whether here legally or illegally. I know there is much to be said about this subject but I would like to hear from you on the Court's decision only. How do you read it? How would you like to be treated by your employer? Should not others deserve the same protection under the law once hired?