Immigrants typically work hard. They enter the United States to create a better life for themselves and their families, and they will do the work necessary to achieve those goals. They often put in long hours at demanding jobs. When they don’t have the necessary immigration paperwork, they may have to take some of the worst-paid and most dangerous jobs available.
Undocumented immigrants often perform exhausting manual labor or dangerous job responsibilities. For immigrants without documentation, the risk for a workplace injury may be quite high. Issues such as a language barrier and a lack of training may put them at risk.
Employers who ignore potential immigration paperwork violations could also potentially misrepresent a worker’s rights after an accident. Employers frequently lie to undocumented workers, telling them they don’t qualify for workers’ compensation. Other times, they may threaten retaliation if a worker claims benefits. However, Kansas has firmly established the right of undocumented workers hurt on the job.
The state Supreme Court has ruled on this issue
Just a few years ago, a workers’ compensation benefits case involving an undocumented worker made its way to the Kansas State Supreme Court. A worker needed benefits for a significant back injury she suffered on the job, but her employer refused her benefits.
Their claim was that she did not deserve benefits because she had provided false employment eligibility documentation. In fact, her employer fired her when her use of falsified documentation came to light during the initial claims process.
However, the Supreme Court eventually ruled in the favor of the employee. An employer won’t pay more in coverage because of worker is undocumented, and they benefit from that worker’s labor just the same. The worker still has risk on the job and deserves coverage if they get hurt. Documentation issues should not put someone at risk of permanent hardship because they sought to support themselves.
Claiming benefits without documentation may require support
Obviously, you need to know your rights to assert them. You may also need help dealing with personal bullying or threats by your employer, their insurance company or their attorney. Learning more about how workers’ compensation operates in Kansas can help you claim benefits when you need disability pay because you can’t work or medical treatment because of an injury on the job.