Although statistics shows that over 2 million employees across the U.S. pursue workers’ compensation claims…
Undocumented workers make up a significant portion of California’s workforce. So how do the hardline immigration policies and an ever-growing number of crackdowns on illegal immigrants in Los Angeles and elsewhere in California impact workers’ compensation in the state?
Despite the Donald Trump administration’s continuous efforts to curb illegal immigration and make it impossible for undocumented workers to work and live in the United States, California has opposed the White House’s anti-immigration policies.
Fact: An estimated up to 2.6 million workers in California are undocumented immigrants.
California has officially declared itself a “sanctuary state” that offers protections to undocumented immigrants and refuses to cooperate with federal immigration authorities when it comes to raids and crackdowns on illegal immigrants.
But where does it leave millions of undocumented workers and illegal immigrants in Los Angeles and all across California who have been injured in the workplace and want to seek workers’ compensation benefits for their on-the-job injuries?
We brought our Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney to spell out how big of an impact California’s uncertain stance on immigration has on workers’ comp across the state.
In California, where an estimated 9 percent of all workers are believed to be undocumented workers, even illegal workers may be entitled to workers’ compensation. Our best attorneys at the Koszdin, Fields & Sherry law firm explain that California courts have ruled that undocumented workers can obtain workers’ compensation despite their immigration status on several occasions in recent years.
Since the risk of deportation and risk of getting your immigration status exposed is still relatively high when filing a workers’ comp claim in California, it is highly advised to be legally represented by a Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer in order to ensure that the court – or your employer, for that matter – treat your immigration status as “irrelevant” to your workers’ comp case.
The biggest protection that undocumented workers in California currently have – in addition to the fact that California declared itself a sanctuary state – is that the California Department of Industrial Relations unambiguously declares that all workers across the state are equally protected by employment laws regardless of their legal or immigration status.
Among other things, these labor law protections include the legal right to seek workers’ compensation benefits in case of an on-the-job injury, and being able to file a claim without facing retaliation from the employer.
Despite California’s generous protections given to undocumented workers, filing a workers’ comp claim can still put an undocumented worker at risk. Our Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney from the Koszdin, Fields & Sherry law firm explains that it is not uncommon for illegal workers to claim benefits using false identification or pretending to be someone they are not.
In that case, you risk not only being charged with workers’ compensation fraud, but also expose yourself to additional risks of deportation. In fact, raids on California workplaces suspected of hiring undocumented workers have been on the rise since Trump assumed office. And a workers’ compensation claim could trigger those raids.
Only a skilled attorney can help you ensure that California’s sanctuary-state protections apply to your particular case and eliminate the risk of deportation and all forms of employer retaliation when seeking workers’ compensation benefits for your workplace injuries.