Immigration issues are a hot-button topic around the country, and the highest court in Pennsylvania has weighed in on the subject of immigration as it relates to workers compensation benefits. The ruling concerns a claim filed after a South American immigrant filed for benefits following a workplace accident in July 2008.
According to court documents, the immigrant, who was employed as a truck driver for a Pennsylvania company, was injured on the job and unable to lift more than 15 pounds or perform many activities required for his position. The owner of the company placed the man on temporary leave with compensation, but began the process of cutting off the payments he was receiving in September 2008. The former employee disagreed with the action, noting that he should continue to earn payments since he could still not work in his previous job due to his injury.
When hearings on the matter began, the Ecuadorian native noted he had been in the United States for approximately 10 years but refused to answer question regarding his immigration status. At the end of hearings, the compensation board ruled that payments to the man must continue. After a number of appeals, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled that his refusal to answer questions regarding his immigration status could not be used as grounds to discontinue his benefits.
Not all workers compensation claims are contentious, but after a time, a number of companies may attempt to stop paying these benefits. Workers who are receiving these types of benefits may need to be aware of their rights. The assistance of a legal team from a firm that regularly deals with employee compensation cases could be of great benefit to anyone who has been injured on the job.
Source: PennLive, “Pa. Supreme Court weighs in on battle over injured immigrant’s eligibility for workers comp“, Matt Miller, July 22, 2014