In Ohio, politicians are debating the rights of undocumented workers. It involves a proposal that passed the House and is now being considered by the Senate that would bar undocumented employees from receiving workers’ compensation benefits following on-the-job injuries. Opponents believe the bill would encourage lax workplace safety.
It is argued that it would be to the detriment of all workers and not only those who lack documents. If workplace safety is neglected because undocumented workers cannot file workers’ comp claims, documented workers will be exposed to the same hazards. Proponents note that employers who knowingly employ undocumented workers can be prosecuted.
They believe that it would discourage employers to hire illegal immigrants because the companies will have to cover medical expenses if those workers are injured. Opponents say employers will be tempted to hire these workers because it would save them the insurance premiums that would be necessary for documented workers. ProPublica investigators apparently found that the owners of Case Farms in Ohio used undocumented employees to work in the chicken processing plants to save money, and terminated their jobs when they sought safer workplaces after suffering injuries.
While it is not yet known how the proposed bill will fare in the Ohio Senate, injured workers may seek the support of experienced workers’ compensation attorneys to protect their rights and pursue workers’ compensation benefits. When applicable, a lawyer can also launch an independent investigation into the cause of the accident. If gross negligence on the part of the company can be established, the injured worker may have grounds for a civil personal injury claim, in addition to any available workers’ compensation benefits.
Source: radio.wosu.org, “House Advances Bill To Withhold Injury Compensation From Undocumented Workers“, Andy Chow, May 22, 2017