Undocumented workers in the United States face a series of unique legal challenges. In addition to these, some employers will try to take advantage of the fact that undocumented workers are usually afraid of detection and deportation. Unscrupulous employers will try and intimidate undocumented workers so that they will not exercise their rights under US and California law.
California employment law is much more expansive in scope than US law. California employment law goes out of its way to protect the rights of all workers, including undocumented ones. According to Legal Aid at Work, all workers who sustain injury on the job may be eligible for most workers’ compensation benefits, even if you are an undocumented worker.
What am I potentially eligible for?
Undocumented workers may be eligable for workers’ compensation to cover medical expenses and potentailly lost wages, just like documented workers and American citizens are. However, you may be ineligible for certain types of job retraining or other programs for workers as an undocumented worker.
If your employer fires you in retaliation for claiming workers’ compensation benefits as an undocumented worker, whether or not you can reclaim lost money due to the company firing you is not clear.
What should I do if I want to file a workers’ compensation claim?
The first place you should go is to your employer to get the claim forms. In the event that your employer fires you or is not willing to give you the necessary paperwork to make the claim, you have options. You can contact the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board to file an appeal.