Compassionate Attorneys Helping Injured Workers Obtain Fair Compensation
photo of the firm's attorneys
  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Workers Rights
  4.  » Does your immigration status affect your worker’s comp?

Does your immigration status affect your worker’s comp?

On Behalf of | Apr 7, 2024 | Workers Rights

The life of an immigrant can be difficult, especially when you’re undocumented. According to the Pew Research Center, there are roughly 1.85 million undocumented immigrants in California – and many of them form an important part of the labor force.

What happens, however, when you’re an immigrant who gets hurt on the job? Since many jobs open to undocumented immigrants are labor-intensive, even a relatively mild injury to your hands, feet or back can put you off the job for weeks, if not longer. Are you simply out of luck for the duration of your recovery, or are you entitled to workers’ compensation?

It’s your relationship with your employer that matters, not your immigration status

California law is very clear: Immigrant workers are entitled to the same rights as any other worker in the state, whether they are documented or undocumented. This includes the right to file a workers’ comp claim and receive medical coverage for your injuries and, as necessary, wage-replacement benefits and job retraining. You are also protected against retaliation for filing your claim.

There could be one hitch: If your employer has you listed as an “independent contractor,” then you are working for yourself and not them – and that means you wouldn’t be entitled to workers’ compensation. However, it’s important to note that employers sometimes incorrectly (purposefully or not) misclassify their employees. It’s cheaper for the employer, but it puts injured workers like you at a disadvantage.

If your employer is discouraging you from filing a workers’ comp claim based on your immigration status or they claim you’re not really an employee when it certainly seems like you are, it may be time to find out more about your legal options.