THIS IS AMERICA SO HIRE AMERICANS! - Bill would prohibit workers' comp benefits for illegal aliens
“This will deter illegal aliens from seeking work in Ohio and with our 7.5 percent unemployment rate, jobs should be reserved for U.S. citizens and legal immigrants.” Seitz said the employer liability mechanism was included in the bill to “deter unscrupulous employers from knowingly hiring illegal aliens and prevent them from passing the cost of their own illegal decisions on to employers who are following the law.”
Bill would prohibit workers' comp benefits for illegal aliens
The Daily Reporter
TIFFANY L. PARKS
Special to the Legal News
Published: May 3, 2012
Sen. Bill Seitz has reintroduced a bill into the Ohio General Assembly that would prohibit an illegal or unauthorized alien from receiving compensation or benefits under Ohio’s Workers’ Compensation Law.
The proposal, Senate Bill 323, is among a recent wave of bills focused on the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to hit the legislature.
Seitz, R-Cincinnati, said he began crafting the proposal in 2009 after asking whether the BWC checks to see whether illegal aliens are collecting workers’ compensation for job-related injuries.
“Imagine my surprise when I was told that not only does BWC not check, but also, that it believes that current state law prohibits the bureau from verifying legal employment status,” he said.
The lawmaker said the “shameful practice” is a matter of state, not federal, law.
Seitz’s original proposal, Senate Bill 238 in the previous legislature, stalled after it passed in the Senate.
The BWC is one of Ohio’s largest agencies, with an annual budget of $327 million and fund reserves of more than $34 billion.
“Annually, it pays claims to tens of thousands of workers injured on the job in Ohio,” Seitz said.
“Because BWC is mainly funded by charges to Ohio employers and because employers constantly complain to us about the size of the payments, every dollar paid out by BWC to illegal alien workers is money that would otherwise go to reduce employer charges and make Ohio more competitive.”
SB 323 would ban an employer from electing to cover an illegal or unauthorized alien under the state’s workers’ compensation law and requires a claimant for workers’ compensation benefits to certify that the claimant or the deceased employee who is the subject of the claim was an eligible employee under Ohio law.
Under the proposal, claimants could be subject to criminal penalty for filing a false certification.
“This will be the same certification process currently used to process unemployment compensation claims in Ohio,” Seitz said, adding that if the claimant does not certify proper work authorization, the claim will not be paid.
“This will deter illegal aliens from seeking work in Ohio and with our 7.5 percent unemployment rate, jobs should be reserved for U.S. citizens and legal immigrants.”
SB 323 defines an unauthorized alien as an individual who is not considered to be an employee in accordance with the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act.
The proposed legislation would grant an employer immunity from liability for an illegal alien’s damages suffered because of a work injury or occupational disease contracted in the course of employment unless the employer knew the individual was not authorized to work under federal law.
“What about the illegal alien whose injury will go uncompensated by BWC under this legislation? Good question,” Seitz said, noting that SB 323 would maintain employer liability for intentional torts.
“Under my legislation, the illegal alien will be able to sue his employer to recover for those injuries, but only if he proves either of the following: that the employer hired the illegal alien knowing that the alien was not legally allowed to work in the U.S. or that the employer intentionally injured the worker.”
Seitz said the employer liability mechanism was included in the bill to “deter unscrupulous employers from knowingly hiring illegal aliens and prevent them from passing the cost of their own illegal decisions on to employers who are following the law.”
If signed into law, SB 323 would establish an “irrebuttable presumption” that an illegal or unauthorized alien assumed the risk of incurring an injury or contracting an occupational disease at the workplace, or dying as a result of such an injury or occupational disease, when performing services or providing labor for an employer.
The bill also states that unless an employer intentionally hired an illegal worker, no court would have jurisdiction over an unauthorized alien’s claim for damages suffered at the workplace.
“Legal workers have every reason to be concerned that our workers’ compensation system will have enough money to pay their injury claims,” Seitz said.
“Law abiding employers have every reason to pay their BWC premiums only on the workers who are legally authorized to work in Ohio. Paying illegal aliens’ workers’ compensation claims is in no one’s best interest.”
Other states, including Wyoming, Idaho and Florida, have enacted bills similar to SB 323.
“Ohio should join those states,” Seitz said.
SB 323 is co-sponsored by Sens. Kris Jordan, R-Powell, Troy Balderson, R-Zanesville, and Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster.
The bill has yet to be scheduled for a second hearing.This article was originally published in forum thread: OHIO - Bill would prohibit workers' comp benefits for illegal aliens started by HAPPY2BME View original post