Employers are well aware that just one work-related accident or illness can result in medical expenses, rehabilitation services, and liability compensation. A recent Nebraska Supreme Court decision is a reminder that undocumented aliens, as well as legal workers, may bring workers’ compensation claims. In Moyera v. Quality Pork Int’l, 284 Neb. 963 (Jan. 4, 2013), the Nebraska Supreme Court held that the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act applies to undocumented aliens and these employees could be entitled to permanent total disability benefits (“PTD benefits”) for work-related injuries. Courts in other states also have found that undocumented employees are covered by their state workers’ compensation systems, including: (1) Florida, (2) Kansas, (3) Kentucky, (4) Maryland, (5) New Jersey, (6) North Carolina, (7) Ohio, (8) Oklahoma, and (9) Pennsylvania. Such liability can be avoided by carefully managing the hiring process to ensure that you do not employ aliens who are not authorized to work. Additional details can be found here.
Now that we know President Barack Obama will remain in office for the next four years, he and and the federal agencies responsible for enforcing the nation’s workplace laws likely will continue to pursue a number of pro-employee initiatives. A sampling is provided here.