Can undocumented workers get workers’ compensation benefits in California?

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2021 | Worker's Compensation |

Anyone injured on the job is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. As long as your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance (which is a legal requirement for most) and you were injured or got sick due to your work activity, you have the right to enjoy these benefits. However, if you are an undocumented worker, you may face uncertainties regarding workers’ compensation, and this article details what the law in California says.

The Immigration and the Reform and Control Act (IRCA) is a law that makes it mandatory for employers to verify their employees’ eligibility to work in the United States. Undocumented immigrants are not supposed to work under the law, but some employers violate such rules. If a workplace accident occurs, they may argue that since undocumented workers are not even supposed to be working in the country, they are not legal employees and do not deserve workers’ compensation.

The law says otherwise

In states like California, the law says that undocumented workers can still receive workers’ compensation benefits as long as they fulfill the basic requirements mentioned earlier. Generally, undocumented workers in California enjoy most of the rights that documented workers do, such as similar wage and hour rights. However, since undocumented workers are not legally able to work under state laws, they may not be eligible to collect unemployment insurance.

Do not suffer in silence

Suppose you are a workplace accident victim but are hesitant to protect your rights due to your immigration status — and your employer says that you aren’t eligible, anyhow. You now know that’s wrong, and you should make an informed course of action in safeguarding your legal rights and ensuring that you are adequately compensated for your workplace injuries.