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ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION AND WORKERS' COMP

 

 

 

By Jill Cohen Walker, J.D.

February 4, 2006
NewsWithViews.com

While the earth groans over humanity’s sins, the most evil government in the history of mankind is poised to take center stage. There won’t be any constitutional protections or feel-good government programs in the new slave society. Get hurt on the job and the extent of your injuries will determine the speed of your permanent removal from society.

Meanwhile, Workers’ Comp, that great labor-law compromise, still protects corporations from lawsuits . . . except from illegals who sue when they can’t get benefits. The truth is that corporations don’t want them excluded from the program because they like cheap labor and the government-run, insurance-based system being used to justify amnesty and/or guest worker status for illegals.

This travesty recently hit home when I began receiving the “you were dismissed for cause” form of worker’s comp benefits—medical treatment and that’s it. Let’s see now . . . no job, medical restrictions on work activities, and no benefits. Illegals can also get benefits for injuries they allegedly sustained while working here illegally; and many do just that.

So here’s a very abridged version my story:

I sustained physical injuries while working as an associate manager at a local, freestanding, fast-food, Italian restaurant. The manager who hired me knew I couldn’t do heavy lifting due to a degenerative condition in my spine. When he was terminated, new management entered . . . and the games began. Reasonable faith turned to bad faith followed by three weeks of bullying. The new (much younger) manager believed managing is war. I was reading Blanchard’s books on blending individual and team efforts when I saw the scribbling on the wall. I slipped into the abyss of depression, prepared for the worst, and hoped I was reading things wrong.

For the last 11 days on the job, I endured physical and emotional abuse. I did every task I was asked to do while subordinates challenged my authority and superiors didn’t back me up. A few days before Thanksgiving, I told an immediate supervisor my feet were in horrible pain. He told me to sit down for a few minutes. (I haven’t worked in eight weeks and my feet are still numb, tingling, throbbing, bricks.)

Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, my neck was already jammed, but I cooked and lifted 40 pounds of pasta (that’s four batches totaling 120 lbs. when cooked) in less than one hour to appease the bullies. No one listened when I asked to leave early and there was no opportunity to tell them I needed to see a doctor. I was the fool who kept working until upper management arrived to terminate me. I should have demanded to see a doctor, but I was totally intimidated.

What’s wrong with this picture? I’ve had a handicapped license plate since 1993. My car was always in plain sight in the store’s parking lot, but evidently new management can’t read well and didn’t listen when I told them why I had that plate. It’s a classic example of bad faith by a corporation—force the employee to do inappropriate work . . . criticize everything she does, even if it’s done right . . . and she’ll quit. If that doesn’t work, fire her before she files a claim against us if she’s injured, which she will be and we know it.

Thirty days after termination, I was seen by their doctor who said I sprained my neck—can one get whiplash lifting all that pasta, among other tasks? Which muscles are sprained and is there any nerve impingement? How about, for starters, radial and medial nerves? (Note: I can only take Tylenol-type meds or wear a soft neck collar which the doctor told me not to wear. What’s a mother to do?) Here’s a little timetable on the rest:

  • Five weeks after termination: start physical therapy (conservative approach); can return to work, but can’t stoop, bend, squat or lift anything heavier than 10 pounds. I’m getting worse.
  • Seven weeks after termination doctor finally X-rays my elbow; orders more physical therapy. I’m still getting worse.
  • Two months after termination an MRI is done on my neck.
  • WC orders insurer to send me to a foot doctor to determine why I can’t walk or stand longer than 20 minutes; insurer says they don’t have to send me because they believe I’m a liar who was never hurt in the first place and then they misquoted the doctor regarding the matter.

To what work am I supposed to return? Who will hire me in this condition? Do they want me to lie to get another job? It only took five days to type this article because my neck is throbbing and my left arm doesn’t work well anymore . . . and I’m left handed. Three weeks ago I applied for unemployment benefits and every time I file a weekly certification, I say I’m able to work . . . because the doctor says it’s true. I’m an American citizen and I’ve had no income for eight weeks.

So let me cut to the chase. I know there’s a host of cases out there filed by illegals who’ve been injured (some quite seriously) while working illegally in my country. But in this age of “the Caucasians are the bad guys,” I know my story would be different if I were an illegal immigrant. Heck, if I were an illegal (or even a member of any recognized minority) and was hurt making those plastic pizzas, pastas, and subs, my former employer and workers’ comp would trip over themselves to provide help—a smorgasbord of government-sponsored benefits just to avoid charges of racism/discrimination; but Americans are cast aside at the hands of a system that’s trashed the value of our citizenship. Look at what some state courts have said.

August, 2003: A three-judge panel of Arizona’s Court of Appeals ruled that Lee Myles Transmission had to pay an illegal immigrant benefits after he injured his eye while working in their Phoenix-based shop. At the time of hiring, he was told to sign a document that stated he’s a citizen of the U.S. and he could provide proof. The document was in English, which he couldn’t read. Evidently, the shop owner claimed only “Spanish” applicants had to sign those forms.

The court didn’t care that he was not a U.S. citizen, but maybe they were right on one point. If Lee Myles hired him knowing he was an illegal, they should have paid if he got hurt while working for them. I contend, however, that they should have paid out of THEIR pockets, not foisted the matter onto their workers’ comp insurance company. Why go through legal channels to cover the injury of one who entered this country and secured employment illegally? Perhaps, it’s because there’s a glitch in the system . . . discrimination based on citizenship status.[1]

Federal and state laws don’t allow prospective employers to question an applicant’s citizenship status; and charges of discrimination in hiring could be hurled at any hiring entity that attempts to obey the dictates promulgated by those moral gurus in DC. Now add a workplace injury, and those same employers are toast. An employer who files a claim on behalf of an injured illegal worker has just admitted to violating federal law by hiring the illegal in the first place.

In October 2005, the 2nd District Court of Appeals in California held that undocumented workers injured on the job can receive workers’ comp benefits. In Farmers Brothers Coffee vs. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board another unanimous three-judge panel stated that “California law has expressly declared immigration status irrelevant to the issue of liability to pay compensation to an injured worker.” When did citizenship status become “irrelevant?” The court didn’t even care that the injured worker used a fraudulent Social Security card, a felony under federal law; nor did INS charge the worker with illegal entry into the country![2]

Well, follow the money because that’s what it’s really about. Many employers believe it’s exclusionary to deny illegals access to workers’ comp benefits and would put them in a position to do the most dangerous jobs. When the Virginia Supreme Court held it was legal to exclude illegals from such protections, the civil lawsuits poured in. Employers begged the state to amend the law because workers’ comp is cheaper than private civil suits. The Virginia legislature tried again in 2005, but the bill was defeated in the state senate.

Our courts create fables out of whole cloth when illegal immigration is the primary violation of the ubiquitous “rule of law.” Judges don’t tell the plaintiffs they have no standing because they aren’t here lawfully and can’t work here lawfully. They bypass the real issues in violation of laws promulgated to protect “we the people.”

While some courts rubber stamp benefits for illegals, the issue of fraud has escalated among the same group. In January 2006, seven suspects were arrested in California. According to John Garamendi, state Insurance Commissioner, Xochilt Gonzales, Dora Guerrero, Elizabeth Montero, Marco Nunez, Rogelio Ramirez, Sergio Ramirez, and David Rocha cost insurers $900,000 and the state was robbed of about $676,000 in payroll taxes.[3] That’s a big chunk of change!

I know that American citizens (among others) have violated workers’ comp laws for years. I also know that many have been denied full benefits when deserved because the system isn’t on the side of “we the people.” How can a workers’ comp board, which is a government agency, possibly be neutral or helpful to the injured worker when the states are crying for businesses to stay and new ones to come? But would they dare find against those poor illegals just yearning to be free to work in this great land of ours that they want to conquer?

The real problem is the conflict between state laws and The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA), enacted because illegals were pouring across our borders . . . even then. That law made it illegal for a person (or other entity) to “hire, or to recruit or refer for a fee, for employment in the United States an alien knowing the alien is an unauthorized alien.”[4] If the person is hired, it’s illegal “to continue to employ the alien in the United States knowing the alien is (or has become) an unauthorized alien with respect to such employment.”[5]

Under IRCA, job applicants must prove they’re permitted to work in the U.S. using documents like—most laughably—a drivers’ license and completion of an employment eligibility form (an I-9). It’s also unlawful for an unauthorized alien to provide “any forged, counterfeit, altered, or falsely made document” or “any document lawfully issued to or with respect to a person other than the possessor” to the employer during this verification process.[6] (Will the real Jose, Juan, or Delores please stand up?) Employers are equally vulnerable if they take the applicant at his word, but a charge of discrimination can be filed against them if they question the applicant—a double-edged sword, at best.

State courts don’t see a conflict. In the Farmers Brothers case, the court held that it was never the intention of Congress to supersede state labor laws when IRCA was passed. Leave it to the Los-Angeles based court to ignore the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution so they could render IRCA meaningless.[7]

The Connecticut court held that since illegals have the right to file civil actions for those same injuries, they should be able to get workers’ comp benefits. Ironically, in Dowling v. Slotnik, the court had the gall to state: “Potential eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits in the event of a work-related injury realistically cannot be described as an incentive for undocumented aliens to enter this country illegally.”[8] They need a dose of reality!

The Michigan court was more insightful. In Sanchez v. Eagle Alloy, the Court of Appeals held that illegals are employees under state law and could receive benefits. However, employers don’t have to compensate them when they can’t work because they’re in prison or have committed a crime; and IRCA makes it a crime for illegals to sabotage the employer’s verification system or to use “any forged, counterfeit, altered, or falsely made document” or “any document lawfully issued to or with respect to a person other than the possessor” for purposes of obtaining employment in the United States. The court added that use of such documents subjects the user to fines and even criminal prosecution.[9]

Even New York’s Appellate Division held that illegals cannot recoup lost wages earned illegally in this country. They cited the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, which makes IRCA the supreme law over state laws on the issue.[10]

Conversely, the Ohio court held that “. . . while [an illegal alien] is not legally allowed to work in the United States, he would still be able to work in his own country or possibly another country had he not sustained a work-related injury. Thus, he still suffers a loss of earnings because he cannot return to work anywhere due to his on-the-job injury.”[11] It didn’t dawn on the court that the illegal wouldn’t have sustained the injury had he not trespassed into the U.S. and secured employment illegally—the old chicken-and-egg concept baffled the court and the list of cases is piling up as we speak.

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Well, “we the people” better wise up. Those who trespass rake it in from every do-gooder, cheap substitute, welfare-type program while American citizens are being driven into a slave society where workplace injuries or other needs won’t matter. In our “disposable” culture, what little protections we still have will become obsolete and our usefulness will be one factor that will determine our longevity under the new global government. Remember, the Nazis didn’t keep the sick and infirm around very long . . . and neither will the rulers of the heinously evil global government who are champing at the bit to finally take us over.

Footnotes:

1, [Read]
2, [Read]
3, [Read]
4, 8 U.S.C. 1324a (a)
5, 8 U.S.C. 1324a (a) and see [Read]
6, 8 U.S.C. 1324c (a) (1)-(3)]
7, 8 U.S.C. 1324a (e) (4) (A); 8 U.S.C. 1324a (f) (1); 18 U.S.C. 1546 (b)
8, 244 Conn. 781, p. 796
9, 254 Mich. App. 651 and see 8 U.S.C. 1324c (a); [18 USC 1546(b)]
10, See Sanango v. 200 East 16th Street Housing Corp., 15 AD3d 36 and Balbuena v. IDR Realty LLC, 13 AD3d 285, currently on appeal to New York's highest court.
11, Rajeh v Steel City Corp., 157 Ohio App.3d 722, p. 730

© 2006 - Jill Cohen Walker - All Rights Reserved

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Jill Cohen Walker earned a BA from Goddard College in 1977, a JD from Franklin Pierce Law Center in 1980, and an MS in journalism at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1999. A freelance writer for fifteen years, she has written numerous articles for tech magazines and newspapers, and co-authored a book on hiring practices in the printing industry.

She taught Social Studies for one year in a northern middle school, and medical-legal and bio-medical courses in the Allied Health division of a local community college for four years. A student of legal history and the US Constitution, she began to study current events and Bible prophecies in March 1985. Her deep interest in and awareness of American politics started during the 2000 elections when she realized the prophetic time clock was ticking fast. She is the co-author of the novel "The Call to Prayer". (www.thecalltoprayer.net).

E-Mail: jillwalker@mail.bellsouth.net



 

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