The United States of America is home to a large number of illegal and undocumented citizens that are employed in one form or the other. Although the latest statistics aren’t available but earlier figures show that the country houses as many as 2 million illegal immigrants within its borders.
Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 it is illegal for employers to hire illegal or undocumented workers. Before the hiring process is finalized a firm should ask for and verify documents that prove that an employee has the legal right to work in the United States. This may be the reason why most employers tend to run a background check (by taking help of platforms like Checkr) on the employees during the hiring process.
This law, however, does not bar these workers from applying for worker’s compensation benefits. A number of states like New York and Texas among others have passed laws that grant an employee injured in the workplace full entitlement to the injury benefits that every other worker has access to. If you don’t have the legal right to work in the country and are faced by a situation where you can’t decide whether to file a claim or not, it is sound advice to consult a workers’ comp attorney at the earliest. You can find a licensed workers’ compensation lawyer through this website or by contacting your local Bar association and asking for a referral.
Difference between illegal and undocumented workers
Both these terms are quite often used interchangeably but there is a slight difference in the meaning of both. An illegal immigrant is one that has entered the country without proper documentation. An undocumented worker on the other hand is one that has overstayed their legal permitted stay in the country. Both of these types of employees are covered under state laws and are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Can an illegal employee file a claim against the employer
Yes, an illegal immigrant employee can file a workers’ compensation claim against an employer. As we’ve mentioned earlier, although it is illegal to hire employees that don’t have the right to work in the country, once hired all the workers have the same rights in the organization and have to be treated equally. The laws in a number of states make it binding upon employers to provide their workers, irrespective of their resident status, with the same amount of facilities.
Under state laws not only can an illegal employee file a claim for the worker’s compensation benefits but they can also file claims against other injustices that they might be experiencing at the work place due to their immigration status.
These include issues like discrimination or harassment etc. The states empower employees to bring the employer to the court of law in order to provide them equal treatment. A professional and qualified attorney can guide you more elaborately in these matters depending on your specific scenario.
If you’ve suffered a workplace injury and feel the need to file a claim against the employer for denying you the appropriate treatment but are afraid due to your resident status, there is no need to fear. Get in touch with us at the earliest and we can ascertain the best possible way through consultation and legal services for you to proceed in the right direction.