Workers Have Rights When Injured on the Job: No Matter Your Residency Status

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the federal Department of Labor recently expanded protections for undocumented workers who whistleblow on working conditions, workplace injuries, and regulatory violations. The Illinois Legislature is also considering The Work Without Fear Act, which gives more protections to undocumented workers filing complaints. 

What rights do workers have when injured on the job?

  • Every worker, regardless of their residency or citizenship status, has the right to work in a safe environment that does not cause illnesses or injuries and that is free from abuse.
  • If injured at work, employment laws give workers the right to receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, job training, and temporary or permanent disability.
  • Workers also have the right to report injuries or abusive working conditions to their employers and regulatory agencies.

What types of injuries are common in workplaces?

Do undocumented workers have rights in the workplace?

  • A worker’s immigration does not prevent workers from seeking compensation or support if they are injured or abused at work. Although immigration status is one factor to consider, compensation is available regardless of your residency status if you are injured at work.
  • The United States Department of Labor said that OSHA—the agency responsible for protecting worker health and safety in the United States— can issue certifications to obtain visas during labor investigations. The agency is authorized to help workers who help the agency identify illegal employer actions such as forced labor, criminal assault, obstruction of justice, and other criminal activities.
  • Illinois is on pace to pass a new law to protect undocumented workers when they make a labor report.

What steps do you have to take if you are injured or abused at work?

  • Document everything. It may be necessary in the future to have contemporaneous notes and details about how an incident occurred, when and to whom you reported it, and what injuries resulted from the accident or incident.
  • Make a report. Filing a complaint with your employer starts an official paper trail for proof that the incident happened.
  • Go to the doctor immediately. Make sure that you have a medical examination and documentation of your injury or illness, along with the prognosis for recovery.
  • Contact an attorney to discuss legal options. Workplace injury and workers’ compensation lawyers will help you determine what legal recourse you may have.
  • Undocumented workers should contact an attorney who understands the unique and complex interplay between immigration status and workers’ rights.
  • Undocumented workers may also benefit by contacting their home nation’s regional consulate for additional assistance.

Free consultation with a Chicago-based workplace injury and workers’ compensation lawyer.

The workplace injury and workers’ compensation attorneys at Romanucci & Blandin have proven success in these types of cases. If you or a loved one has suffered injury or wrongful death, please contact our office at, 312-458-1000 or click here for a free evaluation of your case. There is never a fee until you are compensated for your injuries at the end of the case.

Disclaimer: The content found on this page is not legal assistance and contacting the workers’ comp lawyers at Romanucci & Blandin’s law office for a free consultation regarding personal injury cases and workplace injury claims does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.



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