Industry Focus

A labor law precedent

Laws governing employee rights and immigrant workers can be confusing, but a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court makes some issues clearer.

In Hoffman Plastics Compounds Inc. v. NLRB, the Supreme Court ruled that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) lacked authority to order back pay to an undocumented worker who was laid off from his job because of union organizing.

The court said providing the undocumented worker with back pay would conflict with U.S. immigration laws, which require employees to present documents that establish their identities and authorization to work in the United States.

The employee in the case had provided false documentation to Hoffman Plastics Compounds, Los Angeles. After being hired, he tried to organize a union and subsequently was laid off, which is a violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).