The U.S. Department of Homeland Security reports undocumented immigrants make up approximately 3.5 percent of the U.S. population and an even more sizable portion of the workforce. Many of them work in industries and positions that tend to be inherently more dangerous. When they suffer work-related injuries, they are entitled to receive workers’ compensation. Even though these individuals aren’t authorized to work in the U.S., these companies don’t get a break on paying benefits just because the workers they chose to hire don’t have the proper documents – at least not in North Carolina.
Still, these worker may face additional legal complexities that workers with legal immigration status do not face.
A recent workers’ compensation case out of Delaware details one such case. In Roos Foods v. Guardado, the plaintiff worked as a machine manager for the defendant food processing company when she was involved in a work-related accident and injured her wrist. Thereafter, she received total disability benefits. Later, her employer petitioned the industrial board, asking that those benefits be terminated because the worker was no longer totally disabled.