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Immigration status won’t impact workers’ compensation claims

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2023 | Workers' Compensation |

People from all kinds of backgrounds live and work in Minnesota. There are immigrants from many different countries who raise families and work jobs here. Yet, many of them are unfamiliar with their legal rights. And, unfortunately, there are employers that will try to take advantage of an individual’s ignorance about their protections under employment laws in Minnesota. For example, companies may try to convince a worker that they don’t have any workplace protections because they are an undocumented immigrant.

Those workers may then believe that their immigration status matters more than their rights under employment laws. If someone without a visa or green card gets hurt on the job in Minnesota, they may believe the lie that they don’t qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. However, immigration status has no bearing on someone’s eligibility for benefits.

The state Supreme Court has established important precedent

Businesses cannot avoid responsibility to their employees by invoking their immigration status as protection against employment laws. Despite an obligation to provide coverage for all workers, companies still try to avoid responsibility if someone gets hurt on the job. Even worse, companies that knowingly hire undocumented workers may also intentionally violate other employment laws, such as rules against retaliation.

Workers who fear that they will lose their jobs may be less likely to speak up when they get hurt on the job. However, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against a worker for claiming benefits. Additionally, the Minnesota Supreme Court has previously heard a case in which an undocumented worker became permanently disabled and then couldn’t get workers’ compensation benefits. The courts eventually ruled in favor of the employee. It is someone’s status as a worker doing a job in Minnesota that qualifies them for workers’ compensation coverage. Their immigration status has no bearing on their protection from workplace injury and the consequences it may cause.

When undocumented workers get hurt on the job, concerns about retaliation or challenges during benefits claims may put them at a disadvantage. Discussing an injury with a workers’ compensation attorney may help an undocumented employee make use of their rights without endangering their employment or their family’s well-being.