California Expands National Origin Discrimination to Include Driver’s Licenses

Existing law requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to issue an original driver’s license to a person who is unable to submit satisfactory proof that the applicant’s presence in the United States is authorized under federal law if he or she meets all other qualifications for licensure and provides satisfactory proof to the department of his or her identity and California residency.  AB 1660, signed by Governor Brown, makes it a violation of the California Fair Housing and Employment Act (FEHA) for an employer or other covered entity to discriminate against an individual because he or she holds or presents a driver’s license issued under these provisions or to require a person to present a driver’s license, except in specific situations.

Effective January 1, 2015, FEHA’s definition of “National origin” discrimination will include, but is not limited to, discrimination on the basis of possessing a driver’s license granted under Section 12801.9 of the Vehicle Code.  The new laws do not alter an employer’s rights or obligations under Section 1324a of Title 8 of the United States Code regarding obtaining documentation evidencing identity and authorization for employment. An action taken by an employer that is required by the federal Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. Sec. 1324a) is not a violation of law.

Driver’s license information obtained by an employer must be treated as private and confidential, is exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records Act, and can not be disclosed to any unauthorized person or used for any purpose other than to establish identity and authorization to drive.

HR professionals and persons involved in the hiring process need to ensure they do not discriminate against individuals on the basis of possessing a driver’s license obtained under these provisions.

The Law Office of Phillip J. Griego
95 South Market Street, Suite 520
San Jose, CA 95113
Tel. 408-293-6341
 
Original article by Robert E. Nuddleman, former associate of The Law Office of Phillip J. Griego.
 
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