Undocumented workers are in a vulnerable position. They typically pay income taxes and contribute to social safety nets through tax withholdings but are not in a position to claim benefits. They may struggle to find jobs and even good places to live.
Employers may break employment laws by not offering proper training or safety gear. They may face unsafe work conditions and mistreatment on the job. Sometimes, undocumented workers get hurt because employers don’t treat them with the respect they deserve.
The heightened job risk for undocumented workers and immigrants is well-known. In the construction industry, for example, young Hispanic men died at significantly higher rates than any other demographic. It’s important to understand that you have the right to a safe workplace and to claim workers’ compensation if you get hurt on the job or if a family member dies at work.
Workers’ compensation covers all employees
It does not matter whether you just started the job or only work part-time. Your documentation status does not matter either. If you get hurt at work or if you develop a medical condition caused by your employment, then you can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
Especially if you do not receive sick leave for your position, a workers’ compensation claim may be the only way to connect with wage replacement payments and to protect yourself from job loss.
Your employer might lie to you, but you still have the right to make a claim. They should not retaliate or threaten you when you seek benefits to cover medical care and lost wages. Such retaliation or threats of reporting you for lack of documentation violate your rights.
You may need help if you get hurt on the job as an undocumented worker
Workers who have lived in the United States their entire lives and who speak English as their primary language struggle with the complex process of filing a workers’ compensation claim. Those who have a language barrier or who fear employer retaliation may need even more help than the average worker.
Learning about your rights and getting proper support will make it easier for you to get workers’ compensation benefits as an undocumented worker.