A Stockton, Calif. man believes his former status as an illegal immigrant, who operated under a fake Social Security number, should not have been held against him when he applied to become a correctional officer for the State of California.
Monday, the Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center (LAS-ELC) filed suit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on behalf of Victor Guerrero, 34, against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) — which twice rejected Guerrero’s application to become a corrections officer due to his prior use of an invalid SSN — and the State Personnel Board (SPB), which upheld he denial.
LAS-ELC says Guerrero — who came to the United States illegally from Mexico at age 11 with his parents and obtained an invalid SSN at age 15 — did not know his SSN was fake until he was 17.
The law firm further claims that upon learning his SSN was fake, Guerrero obtained a individual tax identification number to pay his taxes and stopped using the fake SSN when he finally obtained his own real one. Prior to his legalization, Guerrero worked in a variety of service industry jobs.
Guerrero became a naturalized citizen in 2007.
In 2011, Guerrero applied for a job as a corrections officer, and while he passed the applicable tests, he admitted on the application that he had used a fake SSN in the past. The CDCR rejected his application, according to the LAS-ELC, as he “lack[ed] honesty, integrity, and good judgment.” Guerrero was rejected again in 2013 for the same reason.
According to Guerrero and his lawyers, this amounts to unfair discrimination against Hispanics and has no basis in state law.
“Those who are legally authorized to work should be able to do so regardless of their race, accent, or the country they come from,” Guerrero said in a statement provided by the law firm.
Jeffrey Callison, a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman declined to comment to The Daily Caller Tuesday because “this matter is in litigation.”
The LAS-ELC argues that employers considering past illegal status and activity due to that illegal status amounts to discrimination.
“As greater numbers of formerly undocumented individuals obtain legal authorization to work, it is imperative that they not be kept from doing so by employers who aim to weed them out because of their ethnic or national origin,” Guerrero’s attorney Marsha Chien, said in a statement. ”If discrimination like this is allowed to stand, millions of hard working people who are legally allowed to work in the U.S. will be left without the means to support themselves and contribute to our economy.”