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Can undocumented employees get workers’ compensation benefits?

On Behalf of | May 29, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

Most undocumented workers in California believe they are ineligible for work injury benefits. Fortunately, this is not the case – it is a myth many employers like to perpetuate.

The truth is that nearly all California employees, including undocumented immigrants, have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim and receive invaluable benefits like medical treatment and wage replacement.

First post-injury steps

Immediately after getting hurt on the job, you must take certain steps to protect your benefits. Here are three things to do as soon as possible:

  1. Notify your employer about the incident.
  2. Seek medical care from a healthcare provider authorized by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
  3. Swiftly complete and submit your workers’ compensation claim form.

Since these steps are required for all worker claims in California, failing to complete them can threaten your benefits.

Employer interference is unlawful

Employers are prohibited from obstructing an undocumented employee’s right to file a workers’ compensation claim. Additionally, any form of retaliation against those who have filed a claim is illegal. 

Examples of how some employers try to block claims:

  • Withholding claim forms
  • Threats of termination
  • False promises
  • Misinformation about rights
  • Intimidation tactics

Examples of employer retaliation after filing a claim:

  • Unjustified firing
  • Demotion or reduced hours
  • Harassment or abuse
  • Reduced hours
  • Increased scrutiny
  • Threats of deportation

Even though all these behaviors are unlawful, far too many employers still practice them, jeopardizing the rights of workers. If you want an extra layer of security for your benefits, consider getting a legal opinion.

Not only can an experienced representative help you file successfully – they can protect your rights through every stage of your workers’ compensation claim.