Summary: Undocumented workers that file for workers compensation can indirectly put a general contractor in the spotlight.
The construction industry is one the country’s largest employers of unauthorized immigrants. However, undocumented or not, workers’ compensation is required for all employees working under a company. In some states, it has been emphasized that undocumented residents are not to be excluded.
Potential Issues Companies Face
If an employee is seriously injured to the point where a workers’ compensation claim is filed and the employer initiated benefit payments, it becomes rather complicated for the construction company. In the process, it may reveal to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services that a low is not being met. If the employee’s eligibility can be documented through Form I-9, there may not be an issue. However, failing to adhere to the law may involve a multitude of fines and penalties.
In some states, construction employers are particularly careful when hiring undocumented workers. Ultimately, they are responsible for every employee on the job. Thus, it should be mandated to ensure all workers are eligible to work.
Subcontractors and the Third Tier May Face Scrutiny
While general contractors tend to be more reserved when hiring undocumented workers, their subcontractors and third tier team may think alike. However, this does not divert the blame elsewhere as the general contractor can still face the repercussions.
Whether employees are legal or not and are under the general contractor’s payroll, there is a case to be made that each employee working under the company is under the primary contractor. Employers should always be aware of the different issues that can come up in the event that an undocumented worker is injured on the job.