Warning for undocumented employees in Michigan

Getting hurt on-the-job can lead to a denied workers’ compensation claim and even deportation.

NPR published a sad article about undocumented employees and workers’ compensation. How some employers and insurance companies are taking advantage of people hurt on-the-job. It follows the story of several immigrants who have faced deportation after standing up for their legal rights.

Immigration reform has been a hot topic for many years but workers’ compensation benefits for undocumented employees has not received much attention. NPR points out that employment of unauthorized workers is a reality in the American economy. Thousands of people are working dangerous jobs for little pay.

Asking for workers’ compensation benefits should not subject an otherwise law abiding employee to criminal fraud charges and/or possible deportation. We simply need to do better as a society.

Michigan was specifically mentioned in the NPR article as a state that allows employers to dispute payment of wage loss benefits. This is a relatively new defense tactic and its application does not make any sense.

Michigan courts have found that undocumented immigrants can enter into a valid contract of hire and be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, payment of wage loss stops when the employer discovers he or she is no longer able to work because of the commission of a crime. Specifically, violating federal law and being an undocumented worker. It should also be noted that the employer maintains protection from lawsuits under the exclusive remedy provision.

Michigan law does cover the payment of medical benefits. All reasonable, necessary, and related treatment should be paid. We have seen some employers refuse to make a claim and threaten deportation. Unfortunately, this is now becoming a sad reality. We recommend contacting an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer if this occurs.

Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (844) 201-9497 for a free consultation today.

Related information:

Switching doctors while on workers’ compensation

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by jnn1776.

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