California law prohibits an employer from discharging or discriminating against an employee for engaging in protected conduct to enforce his or her employment-related rights..   An employee who makes a bona fide complaint and is subsequently discharged or suffers other adverse action as a result is entitled to reinstatement and reimbursement for lost wages.  It is currently a misdemeanor for an employer to willfully refuse to reinstate or restore an employee who is eligible for reinstatement.

AB 263 extends these protections to any applicant for employment who engaged in protected conduct.  Moreover, the law expands the protected conduct to include a written or oral complaint by an employee that he or she is owed unpaid wages.  Any violation of these provisions will result in a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per violation.  The new law also provides that it is not necessary to exhaust administrative remedies or procedures in the enforcement of the specified provisions.

This bill also makes it unlawful for an employer or any other person to engage in, or direct another person to engage in, an unfair immigration-related practice against a person in retaliation for exercising a protected right under state law or local ordinance.  The law also creates a rebuttable presumption that an employer’s adverse action is committed in retaliation if taken within 90 days of an employee exercising a protected right.

Additionally, a civil action may be brought by an employee who is the subject of an unfair immigration-related practice, and a court may order the appropriate government agencies to suspend the business licenses held by the violating parties.  Finally, the law prohibits an employer from discharging an employee or in any manner discriminating, retaliating, or taking any adverse action against an employee because the employee updates or attempts to update his personal information, unless the changes are directly related to the skill set, qualifications, or knowledge required for the job.