Immigration Status is Not a Factor for COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation
State and federal officials have ordered shelter-in-place rules and “social distancing” instructions in attempts to slow the spread of the coronavirus and many businesses deemed non-essential are closed, there are many essential workers still risking their health on the job.
These workers are in the industries of healthcare, emergency services, food production, and delivery. Many are immigrants with varying status.
California is a state that allows people of any immigrant status to get workers’ compensation benefits Essential personnel are courageously and selflessly putting their lives at risk and sacrificing the welfare of their families to combat the danger of the coronavirus. There is a growing anxiety among such workers as to whether their immigration status unfairly impacts their workers’ compensation claim, or puts their claim in a disadvantaged position, further susceptible to consequences. During what has been declared the COVID-19 state of emergency, California Department of Insurance asserted that it expects all its insurance licensees to pay workers’ compensation benefits to injured workers, regardless of immigration status.
The California Supreme Court has provided confirmation, providing that the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 does not trump state law that awards protection of state employment and labor law protection to all workers, irrespective of citizenship or immigration status.
Do not let the stress of this pandemic cause you to forget what you are entitled to in the event you experience COVID-19 injury while on the front lines of work.
Regardless of your immigration status, you are entitled to the same workers’ compensation as any other comparable disease or injury.