A work accident should not threaten your immigration status

The Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Act requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation policies. Those policies generally must offer benefits to workers injured on the job, regardless of who may have been at fault. Yet despite this no-fault approach, many employers have fears about claiming their rightful share of workers’ compensation benefits.

No-fault workers’ compensation benefits are available to all employees

Consider the example of an employer’s insurance provider that offers a modest or even inadequate benefits package. That fiscally conservative approach is contrary to the principle of workers’ compensation. Where possible, workers’ compensation benefits are designed to help an injured worker reenter the workplace. In the event of permanent disability, a policy may provide permanent support.

Immigrant workers have civil rights

When benefits fall short, an employee may fear that seeking a more adequate amount of benefits might jeopardize his or her job security. In the case of immigrant workers who may have undocumented status, those concerns are magnified, and may even include fears of deportation.

In a recent example, an undocumented immigrant worker sought workers’ compensation benefits after falling off a ladder and breaking his leg. The employer apparently placed a telephone call to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE officials responded to the workplace and initiated deportation proceedings against the worker.

Immigrants who have suffered a workplace injury should not be afraid to come forward and seek the benefits they need. Unfortunately, employers and workers’ compensation insurance providers often prefer a quick resolution, perhaps even threatening a call to ICE. That, in turn, may require nuanced legal strategy. Our Tennessee immigration law firm fights is committed to protecting the civil rights of immigrant workers.

Source: WBUR, “An ICE Arrest After A Workers' Comp Meeting Has Lawyers Questioning If It Was Retaliation,” Shannon Dooling, May 17, 2017

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