As an immigrant without the right documentation, you know that your options for employment are fairly slim – but you’re never short on work. You regularly get picked up for “day labor” at local farms, factories and construction sites.
Unfortunately, the work you do is often inherently dangerous, and you rarely get much in the way of training. An injury seems like it’s almost inevitable – and you don’t know what that will mean for you or your family.
Day laborers and immigrants still have rights to benefits
The good news is that California law explicitly states that “a person’s immigration status is irrelevant to the issue of liability” when it comes to workers’ compensation benefits. Temp workers and part-time employees are also covered, which gives you access to much-needed medical treatment for your injuries and wage replacement benefits that you might otherwise not have.
Keep in mind, too, that even though an employer may try to deny you coverage based on the idea that you’re an “independent contractor,” that can often be a smoke screen. The actual definition of an independent contractor can be quite complex, and if you’re doing low-skilled work under your employer’s supervision and control, the odds are high that you’re really an employee, after all.
What if you think you’re owed workers’ comp and your employer denies it?
These situations are not uncommon. When employers have too many injury claims from their workers, their workers’ comp insurance premiums can rise, so it’s usually to the employer’s advantage for an employee to forgo a claim.
Don’t let yourself be bullied or taken advantage of when it comes to your workers’ comp claim. Legal assistance is available that can help you obtain the benefits you need.