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Posted on: Jun 22, 2020

The United States Supreme Court issued two historic rulings last week guaranteeing protections for workers in California and across the country.

First up, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday, June 15, that LGBTQ+ workers are protected by Title VII of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and cannot be fired on the basis of their sex or sexual orientation.

The decision makes this June a very special “Pride Month.” Before Monday’s ruling, it was legal in over half of US states for employers to fire workers for being gay, bisexual or transgender.

Because LGBTQ+ workers are now protected across the country, they’ll have greater access to all benefits that come with being employed, including workers’ compensation.

Then on Thursday, the Supreme Court barred the Trump administration from immediately ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, shielding roughly 700,000 young immigrants, otherwise known as Dreamers, from deportation.

California is home to roughly 1 in 4 Dreamers in the United States, contributing billions of dollars to the state’s economy. In fact, there are more than 8,500 DACA recipients who work in the healthcare industry on the frontlines of the pandemic. DACA recipients and their households are estimated to contribute nearly $9 billion in federal, state, and local taxes each year.

While the Supreme Court didn’t address the validity of DACA and only ruled on the legitimacy of President Trump’s attempts to eliminate the program, the decision was seen as a major victory for Dreamers and immigration advocates who can rest a little easier until the next fight materializes.

The DACA program, implemented by President Barack Obama in 2012, allows young people who were brought to the United States as children the opportunity to apply for temporary status to continue to live and work in the US without fear of deportation.

Applicants must prove they were brought to the country before the age of 16 and were no older than 30, had no serious criminal record, lived in the US for at least the previous 5 years and were enrolled in school, graduated from high school or earned their GED. The status lasts for two years, at which time they can apply to renew, but the program does not provide a path to citizenship.

CAAA applauds these decisions to ensure LGBTQ+ and Dreamer workers are protected under the law and offered full protection under California’s workers’ compensation system.