Alabama gained notoriety in June when Governor Robert Bentley signed into law HB 56, the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act. HB 56 quickly gained a reputation as the most aggressive in a long line of state immigration legislation and attracted interest (and ire) from the federal government, immigrant rights groups, and others. A recent federal court decision has halted implementation of certain provisions of the Act, but the central requirement that employers use E-Verify remains intact and on schedule. To learn more about the decision, the E-Verify requirements, and their implications for employers, please continue reading Littler's ASAP, Despite Legal Challenge, Effective Date Approaches for Key Provisions of Alabama Immigration Legislation, by Jorge Lopez and Patrick Simpson.
By Kelly Reese
On September 28, 2011, the District Court for the Northern District of Alabama (Judge Sharon Blackburn) issued a ruling (pdf) on a motion for preliminary injunction in the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice against the State of Alabama challenging its recently enacted immigration law, House Bill 56 (HB 56).
The court has granted a preliminary injunction enjoining the enforcement of two provisions of HB 56 which are of direct concern for employers. The first is Section 16, which prohibits employers from deducting as business expenses wages or compensation paid to an unauthorized alien and imposes a penalty of 10 times the claimed deduction. The second is Section 17, which creates a new cause of action making it a discriminatory practice for employers to knowingly fail to hire a job applicant or discharge an employee who is either a U.S. citizen or authorized alien while retaining or hiring an individual the employer knows, or reasonably should know, is an unauthorized alien. Employers violating this provision can be subject to a civil suit, and the prevailing party may recover compensatory damages and reasonable attorneys’ fees.Continue Reading...
U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn has ruled (pdf) that a complaint challenging Alabama’s recently-enacted immigration law lacks specificity, and ordered the plaintiffs to amend the pleading. The complaint, filed by 36 immigration and civil rights organizations against 11 defendants, contains “380 paragraphs, including 144 paragraphs of facts and history,” and 9 counts–with each count incorporating all previous factual allegations. Labeled a “shotgun complaint” by Judge Blackburn, the plaintiffs were directed to clarify, by September 16, 2011, for each discrete claim:
- which plaintiff(s) asserts the claim;
- the defendant(s) against whom relief is sought; and
- all factual allegations that support the discrete claim.
The organizations’ lawsuit is one of three challenges to the law; the U.S. Department of Justice and a group of religious leaders also have filed suit. As discussed here previously, on August 29, 2011, Judge Blackburn temporarily enjoined enforcement of the law.
Photo credit: Christian Baig Photography
By Kelly Reese
On August 29, 2011, U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn temporarily enjoined the enforcement of Alabama’s recently enacted immigration law, House Bill 56 (HB 56), which was due to take effect September 1. The injunction will remain in effect until the court enters its ruling on the preliminary injunction or until September 29, whichever comes first. Judge Blackburn’s Order (pdf) states that the court will rule on the merits of the pending Motions for Preliminary Injunction no later than September 28.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court (Northern District of Alabama) against the State of Alabama, alleging that HB 56 is preempted by federal law. The DOJ asked the court to find HB 56 invalid, null and void; and sought a preliminary and permanent injunction prohibiting its enforcement.
Two similar lawsuits, also seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions prohibiting enforcement of HB 56, were filed by religious and public interest entities. Those two cases have been consolidated with the DOJ lawsuit.Continue Reading...
Alabama is now the most recent state to require all employers to enroll in and verify employment eligibility through E-Verify. This requirement goes into effect on April 1, 2012. The new law prohibits all Alabama employers, public and private, from knowingly employing unauthorized aliens. Additionally, the law prohibits state government entities from awarding contracts or providing grants or other incentives to employers that fail to enroll in and verify employment eligibility through E-Verify. This provision goes into effect on January 1, 2012. Violations of the law can result in significant penalties for employers. The new law also creates a state law cause of action for U.S. citizens and authorized aliens against employers that refuse to hire or that discharge them while knowingly or negligently employing unauthorized aliens. To learn more about the new law and its implications for employers, please continue reading Littler's ASAP Alabama Is Latest State to Enact E-Verify Requirement by Kelly Reese.