Undocumented Workers Have A Right to Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The simple truth is that in California, undocumented workers qualify for workers’ compensation benefits because all workers are considered employees under California law regardless of immigration status or whether or not the employer is uninsured. However, certain job retraining benefits may be unavailable.
If an employer is unable to offer modified or permanent work based on an injured worker’s medical status, the worker may receive benefits. But if the employer is unable to offer work due to the employee’s immigration status, then the benefits may be unavailable.
This typically occurs after an injured worker is found to be undocumented. Under federal law, businesses are prohibited from hiring individuals who don’t have a legal right to work in the United States.
Once a business owner finds out that a worker is undocumented, they will no doubt take the position that they are required to terminate the employee. Under federal law, violation of laws governing work eligibility can be punishable by fines and criminal prosecution. The use of false employment documents by workers may also lead to fines and criminal prosecution for the worker.
However, California workers’ compensation laws are not in conflict with federal immigration laws because these laws don’t address workers’ comp benefits. Thus, an undocumented worker may be eligible for:
– Temporary disability
– Medical treatment
– Permanent disability
– Future medical treatment
– Other workers’ compensation benefits
California is a “no-fault” state. This means that as long as the injury or condition happened while working, that injured worker is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Immigration status is irrelevant.
In some cases, an employer or insurer may (falsely) claim that immigration status is an “excuse” not to provide workers’ compensation benefits. An experienced work injury lawyer in Orange County can help undocumented workers injured on the job navigate the complex workers’ comp system and obtain the benefits they deserve. Don’t let them get away it.
Call Thomas F. Martin, PLC at 714-547-5025 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your rights.