In Georgia, there are approximately 400,000 undocumented immigrants living throughout the state, according to Newsmax. Many of these undocumented immigrants are working jobs throughout Georgia, including in cities like Atlanta. This can raise important questions, like what happens if any of these undocumented immigrants get hurt on-the-job?
The Georgia courts have addressed this issue and the courts have found that undocumented immigrants are generally still going to be entitled to workers’ comp benefits. This means you should not allow your immigration status to prevent you from getting the work injury benefits that you deserve. If you got hurt as a direct result of your work duties, regardless of your lawful residency or not, you should contact an Atlanta workers’ comp lawyer to find out what options you have for getting benefits that you need.
All Injured Atlanta Workers Should Get Workers’ Comp Benefits
Numerous cases in Georgia courts have addressed the issue of whether undocumented workers are eligible for workers’ comp benefits or not after an injury at work.
In one case, Dynasty Sample Co. v. Beltran, an employer tried to make the argument that the employment contract with an undocumented employee was void. However, the Court of Appeals dismissed the arguments that were made by the employer and said that the traditional state rules of contacts didn’t apply in every case when a determination must be made on whether someone should be considered an employee for purposes of workers’ comp coverage.
The court in Dynasty also pointed out the long history of undocumented workers being covered by the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act. Workers comp laws have also covered many situations in which employment relationships were illegal, including when the employment relationships violated child labor laws.
This case was just one of many where the question of a workers’ immigration status arose and employers tried to use that status to deny workers’ comp benefits. The cases are not successful, because employers have an obligation to all of their workers.
Workers’ comp exists for a reason: so employees can get costs covered and won’t suffer financial damage due to a work injury. This important purpose of workers’ comp coverage does not disappear when an employer makes the choice to hire a worker who is undocumented.
Safety News Alert also reported that this same issue has been addressed in many other states, including in Mississippi in a recent case. Courts throughout the country have generally found that workers are entitled to receive workers’ comp coverage regardless of their immigration status.
The consistency on these decisions shows the value the courts place on the importance of workers’ comp in protecting employees. The court decisions also send a clear message to employers that they cannot escape their obligations with regards to workplace safety just because an employee who they hire happens to be undocumented.
Parsons & Associates, P.C. is an Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm serving Atlanta, Savannah, and surrounding areas throughout Fulton County. Contact Parsons & Associates, P.C. today at 770-422-9000 or contact us online if you have been injured at work.