Undocumented workers make up a substantial part of the workforce in certain industries. Tough questions arise when an undocumented employee gets hurt on the job. While workers’ compensation is a benefit that is legally available to all employees, it can be difficult for undocumented employees to file a claim.
How Employers Let Undocumented Workers Get Through the Hiring Process
Many of the issues surrounding workers’ compensation have to do with an employee’s identification and social security number. It is illegal to use false identification or a fake SSN to apply for a job or government benefits. However, many employers choose to look the other way when an undocumented immigrant applies for a job. They may avoid checking IDs or verifying that an applicant’s social security number (SSN) is truly theirs.
Employees could use E-Verify to ensure that they are only hiring those authorized to work in the United States, but they often choose to hire undocumented workers to take advantage of their work without offering other benefits.
Trouble Starts When an Undocumented Worker is Injured
Many employers change their tune when an unauthorized worker is injured while on the job. Workers’ compensation claims can drive up a company’s insurance costs and even cause them to lose workers’ compensation insurance if they have too many claims. Many industries with above-average workers’ compensation rates, including agriculture and construction, are the same fields that rely on the labor of undocumented workers.
When an injured employee tries to seek care for a work-related injury, the company can report them to law enforcement for using a fake ID or SSN to apply for a job. Providing false identification is a felony. Employers use this knowledge to get as much work as possible out of an undocumented employee and get them arrested when they are no longer beneficial to the company.
The Risk of Felony Charges and Deportation
A felony can cause substantial issues for undocumented workers. It often brings them to the attention of immigration officials, putting them at risk of deportation. These risks are widely known in the undocumented workers community. To avoid issues, many employees simply avoid reporting work injuries and continue working, putting themselves at greater risk of further harm.
Get Legal Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
If an undocumented worker is injured on the job, they are still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. In many cases, they need the help of a workers’ compensation attorney to get the benefits they deserve and navigate the workers’ compensation process.
If you’re struggling to get the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to under the law, we are here to help. Call Scott J. Sternberg & Associates at 561-687-5660 to schedule a consultation at our West Palm Beach office.