Believe It or Not Arizona Immigration Law Affects HR

Believe It or Not Arizona Immigration Law Affects HR

Anyone who watches the news knows about the passage of Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 – that controversial immigration law that has made it a crime to be in the state without any proof of legal immigration status or proof of citizenship. The main goal of the law was probably to deter people from moving to Arizona illegally.

However, as an employer, have you given any thought to what this Arizona immigration law means for your business? It doesn’t matter if your company doesn’t have anyone working in Arizona or even move through the state, chances are this law will affect your business in some way. The law, referred to as SB 1070, has put race relations issues back into the spotlight. And whether or not you support the law, you’ve got to make sure that it doesn’t negatively impact your company.

How to Prepare

SB 1070 is only in effect within the borders of Arizona, but the ramifications have extended beyond state lines. We’ve grouped these ramifications into two categories – those business that have no ties to Arizona and those that do. It’s a good idea to read through both, especially if your company might be moving to Arizona in the near future.

No Ties to Arizona

The charged debate behind Arizona’s immigration laws can trickle into your workplace, even if your business has no operations or employees in or around Arizona. Here are a few:

  • Employee Conflict – The law has sparked a lot of debate across the country. That means employees might discuss it at work and emotions will flare. HR representatives need to be prepared for such discussions.
  • Hispanic Employees – The law doesn’t focus on Hispanics specifically, but it is implied. Be careful to avoid missteps when hiring employees or offering relocation packages to new hires. Equality is key.
  • Diversity Renewed – Diversity and immigration are closely linked, so make sure your company policies are clearly laid out.

Ties to Arizona

For companies that have employees working in, moving to, or traveling through Arizona, read on for some of the ramifications:

  • Travel and Relocation Issues – Arizona authorities are allowed to stop, interrogate, arrest, and detain anyone they think might be moving through the state illegally. You may find that even your employees with a legal right to work in the U.S. are subjected to racial profiling.
  • Productivity Issues – The personal lives of your employees will affect their productivity. So, if your company operates in Arizona or you are asking an employee to relocate there, be cognizant of their situation. Even if they have the right to work here, they may not feel comfortable being subjected to profiling.
  • Employee Transfers – If you have locations outside of Arizona, you may be seeing an increase in your current employees requesting a transfer away from the state. You may even find it harder to hire people in Arizona or relocate employees there that view things a little more liberally.

Sure, SB 1070 was voted on quite a while ago, but that doesn’t mean it won’t still impact your hiring practices, operations, and employee morale. So, if your business is getting ready to move to Arizona or you want an employee to relocate there, you may want to look into how it affects your business a little more closely.

Lance Grooms.