Workers' Compensation for Illegal Alien Workers
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What Is Workers' Compensation?
Workers' compensation was created to give employers and employees fair compensation in lieu of a formal judicial process if any injury occurred while "on the job." The purpose of workers compensation is to provide compensation for disability or death that may result from an occupational injury. It is important to note that workers' compensation is not insurance. Rather, it removes any negligence claims that an employee may bring against an employer and replaces them with a set legal process.
Who Qualifies for Workers' Compensation?
Generally, all legal employees of a company will qualify for workers' compensation. An employee, for purposes of workers' compensation coverage, is any person who has entered into or works under any contract of service with an employer.
How Do Courts View Illegal Aliens in Terms of Workers' Compensation?
There is a split of authority as to whether illegal aliens may benefit from workers' compensation coverage. The views of authority include:
- Some courts have concluded that an alien of any nationality is an "employee" and is entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Other courts have held that because there is no causal connection between a misrepresentation of legally being able to work and an occupational injury suffered, the worker's status does not prevent him from receiving benefits.
- Some courts have denied all workers' compensation benefits to illegal aliens. A number of courts have based this conclusion on that illegal aliens do not fit the "employee" definition within workers' compensation statutes. However, a recent trend indicates that the term "employee" will include illegal aliens regarding workers' compensation, meaning that these denials of benefits may soon be revised.
- Finally, some courts have recognized that illegal alien employees may be entitled to some workers' compensation benefits. Benefits that are typically awarded among these cases are rehabilitation and wage disability benefits.
Should I Contact an Employment Lawyer?
Although workers' compensation can be somewhat straightforward, there may be a judicial process involved. An employment lawyer will be able to guide you through your workers' compensation case and protect your interests.
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Last Modified: 06-26-2014 10:21 AM PDT
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