My Current State: 

Georgia Workers’ Compensation for Illegal Immigrants


Posted by Tamara

According to the federal IRCA (Immigration Reform and Control Act), it is a crime for an employer to knowingly hire someone who is not legally authorized to work in the United States. Employers, however, often unintentionally violate this law when they hire a worker whose I-9 documents seem legitimate and then discover months later the documents were forged.

Since is it also a federal crime to continue to employ undocumented workers in Georgia, the employee is usually terminated.

Georgia employers have encountered this problem. Often, when the worker was hired, he or she produced convincing fake documents. Then after an on- the-job injury, during medical treatment of workers’ comp proceedings, the documents are discovered to be forgeries.

There are an estimated 3 million undocumented immigrants in California and Texas. These numbers are important, because many states have enacted laws allowing these illegal immigrants workers compensation benefits if they’re injured on the job.

In Utah, Texas, Florida and New York, there are laws which specifically grant undocumented workers the rights to worker’s comp when they are injured in the workplace. In Georgia, Oklahoma, Nebraska, North Carolina and five other states, the law establishes that is illegal to deny an employee workers’ comp simply because they are undocumented and illegally employed.

Along those same lines, several FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) court rulings have found that undocumented workers are entitled to back wages for overtime.

Two states, however, have taken the opposite approach. In Arizona and Wyoming, undocumented workers are not considered to be employees. Since they aren’t employees, they can’t be eligible for worker’s comp. The basis of these state laws is the definition of employee itself. For a person to become an employee, or to enter into an employment contract, they must be legally able to do so. Undocumented workers are not considered legally able to enter into a contract, so they cannot be employees.

 

 

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