Citizenship and Immigration Status Is Now Categorized as Sensitive Personal Information under California Law

By Scott Hall, Fred Alvarez, and Amber Leong

On October 8, 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law AB-947, which expanded the category of “sensitive personal information” to include citizenship or immigration status. The category of sensitive personal information under the California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”) already includes government identifiers, precise geolocation, information concerning sexual orientation, racial or ethnic origin, religious or philosophical beliefs, and union membership.

The CPRA contains special restrictions on the collection, use and disclosure of sensitive personal information. If your business collects citizenship or immigration information, you will need to update your privacy policy and revise and review your collection and processing of any sensitive personal information.

Importantly, employee information falls within the scope of the CPRA. That means if your business is subject to the CPRA and you have California-based employees, you are inevitably collecting citizenship or immigration status information that will now constitute sensitive personal information under the new law. If so, you will separately need to update your employee privacy notice and potentially adjust collection and processing procedures with respect to employee information.

The CPRA requires yearly updates of both your consumer privacy policy and employee privacy policy. If you do not have up-to-date consumer or employee privacy policies, there is no better time than now to get started. With the new year right around the corner, now is the time to get your data privacy ducks in a row for 2024.

Please reach out to Coblentz’s Data Privacy or Labor & Employment groups with further questions.