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Laws Protecting Undocumented Workers from Being Reported to ICE

Some unscrupulous employers respond to a workplace accident by threatening to report an undocumented worker to immigration control if they claim workers’ compensation benefits.

If you are an undocumented worker in North Carolina, you have all of the legal rights and remedies provided by both federal and state law, including access to workers’ compensation benefits after work-related accidents. In addition to the right to a safe and healthy workplace, most employees have the right to be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime pay for work beyond 40 hours a week. You have the right to demand your rights without facing retaliation.

The Raleigh workers’ compensation attorneys at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., are committed to helping each of our clients secure the full benefits available by law after a serious on-the-job injury. Our legal team includes attorneys who are board-certified specialists in North Carolina workers’ compensation law. We have attorneys fluent in both English and Spanish to serve Spanish-speaking members of our community.

Workers’ compensation pays an injured employee’s medical bills, a portion of wages lost as they recover, and the costs of other needs associated with an occupational injury. If you have been injured on a job site or while performing your job duties, such as driving a vehicle, contact us online or at 919-661-9000 to set up a free consultation about your legal options.

Is an Undocumented Worker At Risk After Filing a Claim Against Their Employer?

All employees, documented and undocumented, face the risk of retaliation if they claim job benefits that their employer doesn’t want to honor. Most employers in North Carolina are required by law to maintain workers’ compensation insurance to pay for medical treatment and lost wages for injured workers. But multiple workers’ compensation claims can drive up an employer’s costs.

Undocumented workers face the risk of retaliation in the form of their employer reporting them to ICE or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; however, the Courts in North Carolina have made clear that an injured worker’s documentation status has nothing to do with their right to receive workers’ compensation benefits.  Moreover, it is unethical for an adjuster or attorney representing the insurance company or employer to use an individual’s immigration status against them to gain an advantage in the case. All workers, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status, have certain protections under the U.S. Constitution and access to the courts, meaning they have a right to file workers’ compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits.

If you have been injured on the job and your employer, supervisor, or another company official threatens you or objects to you seeking workers’ compensation benefits, speak to a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. Workers’ compensation cases are handled by the Industrial Commission, a state agency, in North Carolina. These cases do not involve federal agencies or federal courts unless your employer is the federal government.

If you think your rights were violated, write down everything you can remember about the incident, including what agency the people involved were from (such as ICE and/or local police), and if you know them, their names and badge numbers. If you have been injured, take photographs of your injuries and ask for a doctor or seek medical attention on your own as soon as possible. If there are witnesses, try to get their names and contact information.

You have the right to file a written complaint with the agency’s internal affairs division or civilian complaint board. In most cases, you can file a complaint anonymously. Your lawyer can help you with this.

Talk to Our Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorneys for Help

Let the lawyers at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., in Raleigh, NC, help if you are having issues with a workers’ compensation claim or have been subjected to threats of retaliation for seeking workers’ compensation benefits. Discussing your case with an experienced attorney at Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks costs you nothing. Call us now at 919-661-9000 or contact us online for a confidential claim review and advice about your legal options.

About the Author

Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A.
At Younce, Vtipil, Baznik & Banks, P.A., our clients work closely with a legal team that is dedicated to providing outstanding client service and unflinching legal representation. The majority of our attorneys and support staff have worked with our firm for many years.

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