Know Your Rights To Workers’ Compensation As An Undocumented Worker

February 10, 2021
By Glauber Berenson Vego

If you are an undocumented immigrant and you have been injured in the workplace, you may be worried about filing a claim for workers’ compensation because you believe that you may not be entitled to these benefits, or that your employer will retaliate against you.

Instead of simply not taking action to gain benefits, you should make sure that you understand how the law applies to your situation. This way, you’ll be able to take appropriate action and get the outcome that you deserve. The following is an overview of what California law says about workers’ compensation for undocumented workers.

California workers’ compensation law expressly includes undocumented immigrants

As an undocumented immigrant working in California, you have the right to file for workers’ compensation when you become injured as a result of work-related activities. This is because California enacted a statute that expressly includes illegal immigrants.

This statute is enacted based on the employer having the responsibility to verify the eligibility of their employees to work, not the employee. Therefore, anyone who is being employed is entitled to workers’ compensation.

What types of benefits are undocumented workers’ entitled to when they are injured?

Injured undocumented workers are entitled to compensation for all necessary medical treatment that they required as a result of the injury. They should also be able to have a portion of their lost wages reimbursed during the time that they were recovering from their injury.

If a worker is unable to return to their job in the long term due to their injury, they may be offered modified work. If modified work is available, the worker is not eligible to receive temporary disability benefits. Similarly, they will not be eligible for supplemental job displacement benefits when permanent work is available.

If you are an undocumented worker in California and you have been injured in the workplace, make sure that you take the necessary steps to gain the benefits that you deserve.