New California Laws 2016

Hundreds of new California laws took effect on Jan. 1. Capital Public Radio looked at the tangible impacts of these laws on the lives of Californians.

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New Calif. Law Prohibits Discrimination Based on Immigration Status

This story is part of our series on new California laws that take effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

A new California law provides civil rights protections to undocumented workers, or non-English speakers. 

Currently the Unruh Civil Rights Act bans discrimination based on several characteristics like sex, race, or religion. New additional language outlaws discrimination based on citizenship, immigration status or primary language.

Jeannette Zanipatin is an attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, which helped write the legislation.

“It protects all folks who are immigrants, folks who are perceived to be immigrants, folks who may not have been born in our country but are definitely part of our society.”

In other words, a business can't tell someone who is speaking Spanish that they must leave the premises. 

The bill only protects patrons inside a business; it doesn't offer further protections to employees working for a business.

SB 600 was sponsored by Senator Richard Pan of Sacramento.