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GOV'T AFFAIRS

STAFF CONTACT

Sarah R. Bratko, Esq. 

Vice President of Advocacy and General Counsel

401-223-1120, ext. 115

Sarah@rihospitality.org

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

New England employers should be aware that people who lack authorization to work in the United States are nonetheless protected under most employment laws, including discrimination and wage-and-hour statutes.


 A recent court decision in California illustrates this. In Salas v. Sierra Chemical Co., the California Supreme Court ruled that an employer could be held liable for back wages in connection with a former employee's claims of disability discrimination and retaliation, even though the employee had not been legally authorized to work.


 The court relied on a California statute that explicitly extends employment protections to all workers, irrespective of immigration status, and concluded that the state law was not preempted by the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, or IRCA, which prohibits employers from employing unauthorized workers.


 State and federal courts in New England have likewise permitted unauthorized workers to assert claims under various employment statutes. Thus, employers should take appropriate steps to protect themselves from potential liability for such claims.


List of Articles
No. Subject Author Datesort
31 Arguements for and against raising Rhode Island Minimum Wage file Monika Feb 05, 2014
PROVIDENCE — House lawmakers on Tuesday heard arguments for and against a bill that would raise Rhode Island’s minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2016 and then tie it to inflation starting in 2017. Testifying before the House Labor Committee, o...  
30 Congressional Budget on Obamacare file Monika Feb 05, 2014
THE CBO REPORT THAT BLEW UP THE INTERNET - Twitter exploded yesterday following the release of the Congressional Budget Office report claiming that the Affordable Care Act will likely cause "a decline in the number of full-time-equivalent w...  
29 National Restaurant Association Urges House Ways and Means Committee to Move Forward on Definition of Full-Time Legislation file Monika Feb 05, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, February 4, 2014 CONTACT: Katie Laning Niebaum (202) 973-3967 kniebaum@restaurant.org or Christin Fernandez (202) 331-5939 cfernandez@restaurant.org National Restaurant Association Urges House Ways and Means Committee...  
28 I-9 Forms – are you in compliance? Monika Feb 21, 2014
The owners of the Black and Blue Restaurant of Rochester, New York started this New Year by handing $88,700 over to the feds.  Their crime?  Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) accused the restaurant of failing to prepare I-9 forms f...  
27 National Grid seeks 16 percent natural gas rate hike for RI file Monika Feb 28, 2014
By ALEX KUFFNERALEX KUFFNERProvidence Journal Journal Staff Writer akuffner@providencejournal.com   PROVIDENCE, R.I. — National Grid has applied to state regulators to raise natural gas rates in Rhode Island by 16 percent, an increase that w...  
26 Meeting with Senator Jack Reed file Monika Feb 28, 2014
This week RIHA hosted Senator Jack Reed at Chelo’s Waterfront Grille in Warwick. As always, our board members were highly attuned to the concerns of the hospitality industry and posed a number of intelligent questions to the Senator. The Se...  
25 New information-reporting rules under the Affordable Care Act file Monika Mar 10, 2014
From Restaurant.org   New information-reporting rules for many businesses and their insurers are on their way under the Affordable Care Act -- and with less than 10 months to go before data-tracking is supposed to get underway, the impact o...  
24 Local Minimum Wage Battles Fought Around the Country Monika May 14, 2014
As you know, Providence City Council is currently deliberating an increase to $15 per hour for hotel workers. RIHA is actively developing a strategy to fight this effort as if it is successful, the continued viability of Providence hotels i...  
23 It's time for the US Senate to stop Patent Abuse file Monika May 21, 2014
This week RIHA signed on to a letter to Senator Reed and Senator Whitehouse urging immediate action on comprehensive patent reform. This issue has gained momentum this year as the public spotlight focused on the unfairness and inequity of p...  
22 2014 Legislative Wrap Up & Legislative Score Card file Monika Jul 03, 2014
This year’s legislative session was a busy one with over 400 pieces of legislation that affected the hospitality industry. Inevitably in politics the odds are against you that you’ll be 100% successful in getting everything you want. However...  
21 Hotel industry presses for passage of terrorism insurance file Monika Nov 07, 2014
RIHA Signs on to Letter on TRIA The letter proved to be quite timely, as it was sent to the Hill on the same day the Speaker of the House was reported to be leaning toward a short-term extension of TRIA, which would obviously not be an ideal...  
20 ACA Penalties and Mandatory Reporting Beginning January 1, 2015 Monika Nov 14, 2014
Beginning January 1, 2015, large companies (classified as having over 100 full time employees) will face penalties if they fail to offer health plans to full-time employees.  Companies that have between 50 and 99 full-time-equivalent employ...  
19 Join RIHA at the NRA Public Affairs Conference/AHLA Legislative Action Summit in Washington D.C. April 13-15, 2015 Monika Dec 15, 2014
For the first time ever, the National Restaurant Association and the American Hotel & Lodging Association are joining forces for the NRA Public Affairs Conference and AH&LA Legislative Action Summit.    The collective events will ta...  
18 RhodeMap RI Plan Approved by the State Planning Council Monika Dec 15, 2014
The State Planning Council approved the controversial RhodeMap RI economic plan.  The plan focuses on housing development in local communities. It calls for social equality as a key component to economic development. Part of the plan looks ...  
17 National Labor Relations Board Releases Announces "Ambush Elections" Rule Monika Dec 15, 2014
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a final rule designed to speed up the union election process.  The rule significantly alters the timeframe for representation elections in the workplace, shortening it from the current median...  
16 Employer Email Can Be Used For Union-Related and Other Protected Communications Monika Dec 15, 2014
In a much-anticipated decision, the National Labor Relations Board  ruled today that employees have the right to use their employer's email system on nonworking time to engage in statutorily protected communications, such as discussing wage...  
» Employment Laws Protect Unauthorized Workers Monika Dec 15, 2014
New England employers should be aware that people who lack authorization to work in the United States are nonetheless protected under most employment laws, including discrimination and wage-and-hour statutes.  A recent court decision in Cal...  
14 1099 Filing Deadline Approaching: Time to Collect Signed W-9 Forms Monika Dec 15, 2014
Have you sent Forms 1099 to your independent contractors and any other vendors who have provided services to your company or organization. If not, its time!    Please keep in mind the following IRS requirements when considering who to send ...  
13 SCAM ALERT: Scams in Hotels Monika Dec 15, 2014
RIHA has learned that Good Morning America will be doing a story on scams that have occurred/can occur in hotels in the context of the holiday season.  This story is focused on situations such as when people get calls in the middle of the n...  
12 Be sure your food establishment is allergy aware this Holiday season! Monika Dec 15, 2014
The majority of food recalls are due to undeclared allergens in food. In January 2013, Rhode Island passed an Allergy Awareness Law (RI Code 23-20.12-2) requiring restaurants to have: a food allergen advisory on menus; a food allergen infor...