“NO” to workers comp for illegals?

A few days after my comments on race discrimination on the job under the column Race-Based Hiring here comes a similar issue: discrimination by the legislature.

Republican state senator in Ohios says no to workers comp for illegals. His plan is to prohibit the nation’s largest state-run injured worker insurance program from providing benefits to illegal immigrants, a change he said should lower business premiums.

State Sen. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati has a plan: there is need for a change. He said he was “shocked” to learn that the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation doesn’t require injured workers to document their status before providing benefits. Ohio law enables “aliens and minors” to receive workers compensation benefits. However nobody put the distinction between “legal” and “illegal” aliens in the law. While Seitz is trying to wring costs out of the system it is not clear which costs. There is no way to determine how much in claims is paid out to illegal immigrants because the bureau cannot determine immigration status.

Does this sound like a publicity action? This is the opinion of David Leopold, a Cleveland attorney and president-elect of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

While workers’ compensation law is generally unique from state to state, laws in most states allow injured illegal immigrants to receive benefits. A case from October 2008 upheld workers’ compensation benefits for an illegal alien injured in New York.

Seitz’s bill is two parted:

  1. burden of proof on the injured worker to demonstrate he or she is a legal worker by showing documentation such as a birth certificate or a visa.
  2. immunity from civil lawsuits for businesses in cases in which their workers’ claims are denied
  3. however: in cases, in which the business knew the worker was illegal or if it intentionally hurt the worker it remains liable.

Who will benefit?

If you are interested in workers comp questions or other labor or employment related legal issues, please contact us bdhlaw.net

Reinhard von Hennigs

Best regards
und viele Grüße aus Charlotte
Reinhard von Hennigs