Aramark Facility Services v. SEIU, 530 F.3d 817 (9th Cir. 2008)

Aramark received letters from the Social Security Administration indicating that information relating to 48 of Aramark’s employees at Staples Center did not match the SSA’s database. Suspecting immigration violations, Aramark told the employees they had three days to correct the mismatches by proving they had begun the process of applying for a new social security card. Seven to 10 days later, Aramark fired 33 employees who had failed to timely comply. Local 1877 of the employees’ union, the Service Employees International Union, filed a grievance on behalf of the fired workers, contending the terminations were without just cause and in breach of the CBA. An arbitrator ruled for SEIU and awarded the workers back pay and reinstatement, finding there was no convincing information that any of the workers were undocumented. The district court vacated the award on the ground that it violated public policy as expressed in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court, holding that Aramark had failed to establish constructive knowledge of any immigration violations particularly in light of the short notice that had been provided to the workers.