From construction and factory work to health care, immigrant workers are an essential part of the U.S. labor force. That is especially true in California, where one in every three employees is an immigrant.
Unfortunately, many immigrants do not know that California law offers them many of the same protections as other employees, regardless of their citizenship status. This includes the right to make a workers’ compensation claim after a job-related injury.
Protections for undocumented workers
The California Division of Labor and Enforcement tries to protect both documented and undocumented workers by not asking about immigration status when an employee applies for benefits. Additionally, it may be illegal for an employer to threaten or retaliate against a worker because of his or her citizenship status.
Types of benefits available
Undocumented employees may be able to receive compensation for medical treatment related to their injury. This may include emergency room care, surgeries and medications as well as follow-up treatments and doctor’s visits.
Injured workers who need to take time off during their recovery may also be able to receive payments for lost wages due to temporary disability.
Help for workers with occupational injuries
Undocumented workers often take on some of the most physically demanding jobs. In addition to the risk of sudden injury, employees whose work involves repetitive motions or frequent, heavy lifting may develop medical problems over time.
Whether due to a sudden accident or the type of work itself, employees should know that they may be able to receive the compensation needed to recover while continuing to support themselves and their families.