Sunday, May 29, 2005

South Carolina: No Workers Comp for Undocumented Workers

Workers Comp Insider has an interesting article about an attempt by South Carolina politicians to keep undocumented immigrant workers from receiving workers comp because "illegal immigrants often commit fraud, such as fake Social Security and green cards, to obtain jobs."

But, as the article points out, aside from being cruel, it would backfire against employers.
When workers are afforded the protection of workers comp, in all but extraordinary circumstances, they are then barred from suing their employer. Workers comp becomes the exclusive remedy for any on-the-job injuries. If you remove that protection from the worker, you are also removing the protection from the employer. If injured, these workers would be free to sue the employer (and under such circumstances, we would encourage them to do so!)
Second, not having to pay workers comp for "illegals" would actually be an incentive for unscrupulous employers to use more undocumented workers.

Hispanic workers already suffer an extremely high injury and fatality rate. "Such a measure would merely open the door to further abuse for an already exploited population."