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Workers' compensation for undocumented workers

We have previously written about the fact that both temporary migrant workers and undocumented laborers are at a heightened risk for being injured in the workplace or killed while on the job. These workers are at a heightened risk for a number of reasons, including the fact that many of these individuals do not speak English and their employers may fail to train them properly in a language they can understand.

Similarly, it can be uniquely difficult for undocumented workers and migrant laborers to seek assistance in the event that they are injured on the job. Migrant laborers may be concerned that missing work or seeking assistance will cause them to lose their work visas. Undocumented workers may understandably be concerned that seeking assistance may lead authorities to deport them.

However, it is important for all injured workers to understand their rights and to seek assistance in enforcing them when necessary. Even if an individual has broken certain immigration laws, he or she may be entitled to workers’ compensation or other forms of compensation for harm suffered while on the job.

Sometimes, employers will cite the Immigration Reform and Control Act as evidence that they do not need to pay injured undocumented workers any compensation for the harm they have suffered in the workplace. However, numerous state laws may either explicitly or implicitly allow undocumented workers access to workers’ compensation benefits. Therefore, injured workers may benefit from approaching an attorney in their state with their questions on this particular subject.

Source: Findlaw Injured, “Can Undocumented Immigrants Get Workers' Comp?” Le Trinh, June 11, 2015

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