A new Florida bill is in the works that would help employees collect workers’ compensation regardless of immigration status. Florida’s Senate narrowly approved the bill late in February in order to eliminate specific parts of the law that allow employers to deny benefits to injured workers who use other people’s Social Security numbers or identifications to obtain jobs. Here is what you should know about this controversial bill.
An Introduction to SB 1568
Back in 2003, a provision was put into the law that make it a crime for people to knowingly present false or misleading information about their identities for obtaining employment. It was considered felony insurance fraud and disqualified such employees from receiving workers’ compensation when they became ill or injured at work.
Why Disregard Immigration Status?
SB 1568 is a response to the portion of the workers’ compensation law that defines a worker as “any person who receives remuneration from any employer… whether lawfully or unlawfully employed, and includes, but is not limited to, aliens and minors.”
Due to this definition as a worker, the bill sponsor Gary Farmer, D-Fort Lauderdale, and others felt that SB 1568 was necessary “to ensure that workers who are injured on the job, who were fulfilling their obligation, injured because of a dangerous workplace condition or something happened on the job, receive the benefits they are owed under the workers’ compensation system statute, regardless of what their immigration status might be.”
According to The Naples Daily News, more than 160 immigrant workers in Florida have been charged with felonies since 2004 after becoming injured and providing false identification. Florida is only one of two states in the country that does not currently separate legal status from workers’ compensation, something that Farmer’s bill is attempting to overcome.
Workers’ compensation can be a complex issue regardless of a citizen’s legal status. If you believe that you have been wronged in the process of obtaining workers’ compensation benefits, call Catania and Catania at 1-800-253-5523 for a free case evaluation. The attorneys at Catania and Catania in Tampa, Florida have more than 25 years of experience helping employees get the compensation they deserve.