Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB
On March 27, 2002, the Supreme Court ruled in Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB that undocumented workers who are illegally fired for engaging in union organizing activities are not entitled to receive back pay wages, the only monetary remedy available under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Although the Hoffman decision was limited to undocumented workers’ right to back pay under the NLRA, employers immediately attempted to extend the ruling to other employment and labor laws.
Rivera, et al. v. NIBCO, Inc., et al.
In the first appellate court decision interpreting Hoffman Plastic Compounds v NLRB, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Court held that Hoffman does not make immigration status relevant for determining whether an employer is liable for a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII). It found that the protective order granted by the lower court was justified because of the grave “chilling effect that the disclosure of plaintiffs’ immigration status could have on their ability to effectuate their rights.