New York City aims to be as welcoming as possible to undocumented immigrants who live within the city. The city is a so-called “sanctuary city,” because it limits cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Undocumented immigrants were also given the ability to get municipal ID cards so they would have identification, and the city is now considering erasing data on those who took advantage of this opportunity in order to make certain the federal government does not access and improperly use the information.
Because New York City is a friendly city to undocumented immigrants, many immigrants come to live and work within the city so they can take advantage of all of the opportunities that the Big Apple has to offer. Unfortunately, some of those workers get hurt at work. When they do, they may not know their rights. A recent report by Voices of New York indicates that employers may not help them.
Undocumented immigrants are supposed to be protected in New York if they suffer workplace injuries. Workers’ compensation covers undocumented workers, and those without lawful immigration status are allowed and encouraged to make claims after work injuries.
Workers’ compensation pays for medical care and provides disability coverage so workers can get lost wages if their disability stops them from doing work tasks. Undocumented immigrant workers should be entitled to all of these same benefits after an on-the-job injury just as any other worker would be if he got hurt while performing work tasks.
Unfortunately, Voices of New York indicates that many undocumented workers either do not know they can make workers’ compensation claims or opt not to make these claims because they are afraid of retaliation or job loss. Many simply try to cope with their injuries and even work when they are hurt. This can be an especially big problem because the work done by undocumented immigrants is often physically demanding. Many undocumented workers do jobs with high risks of injury, like construction and window-washing work, and cannot continue to work when they are harmed.
Undocumented workers need to know what they are entitled to as far as legal protections and benefits, and should not be afraid to take advantage of those protections. Employers are not allowed to retaliate, and you cannot be turned down for a work injury claim just because of your undocumented status. If you have concerns about whether you are entitled to benefits or if you feel that you need help in getting the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to after sustaining a workplace injury, you should talk with an experienced attorney who can help you to navigate the system and protect your rights.