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Thread: Judge: Undocumented workers can get equal workers' comp

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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Judge: Undocumented workers can get equal workers' comp

    Stacey Barchenger
    March 31, 2015

    A Davidson County Chancery Court judge has ruled a Tennessee law that limits workers' compensation for undocumented workers injured on the job is unconstitutional.

    The ruling, which could be appealed, said that undocumented workers should be compensated equal to legal employees. It comes out of a case brought by 39-year-old Carlos Martinez.

    Martinez, who is from Guatemala, was hired as a day laborer in March 2011 by a company called Commercial Services. Five months later, while Martinez was working for the company in Nashville, he slipped and fell while mowing grass. The push-mower ran over his left arm, slicing a chunk out of Martinez's forearm and damaging his nerves.

    Under Tennessee law, Martinez faced a cap on his disability award because he was an undocumented immigrant.

    The law was enacted to serve the following purposes, according to its introduction:

    •"to preserve the tradition of legal immigration while seeking to close the door to illegal workers in this state."

    •"to encourage the employers of this state to comply with federal immigration laws in the hiring or continued employment of individuals who are not eligible or authorized to work in the United States."

    Chancellor Russell T. Perkins ruled last week the law was unconstitutional because it attempted to pre-empt federal immigration law.

    "The Court finds that the General Assembly, in enacting (the law) intended to establish what amounts to a state immigration policy," Perkins' order reads.

    Perkins' ruling said that Martinez was eligible for compensation on the same scale as any legally employed person, and awarded Martinez about $30,000 in income replacement.

    "That was one of our major driving points in bringing this case, was test that statute," said Brian Dunigan, a senior attorney at Ponce Law of Goodlettsville who worked for Martinez on the case.

    "These folks come here to work, and it just winds up being a very unfair situation. They wind up being taken advantage of."

    The Tennessee Attorney General's office was named in the case. A spokesperson said in an email Monday that the office was "reviewing the decision and considering our options."

    http://www.tennessean.com/story/news...qual/70719412/
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    It's all wrong across the board. The Workman's Compensation Fund should not fund any unlawful or illegal activity or any person or business engaged in unlawful activity. Under this ruling, illegal aliens employed by drug cartels can claim workman's compensation if they get hurt on the job. After all, the illegal aliens employed in the drug industry "just came here to work, and it winds up being a very unfair situation. They wind up being taken advantage of."

    Chancellor Russell T. Perkins ruled last week the law was unconstitutional because it attempted to pre-empt federal immigration law.

    "The Court finds that the General Assembly, in enacting (the law) intended to establish what amounts to a state immigration policy," Perkins' order reads.
    Does federal law require that state workman's compensation be paid to individuals engaged in unlawful federal activity?

    I don't think so, and if it doesn't it, then a state law executed to protect a state private industry funded workman's compensation insurance fund doesn't pre-empt anything. Issuing an order that this fund pay an illegal alien $30,000 is aiding and abetting an illegal alien in the crimes of violating US immigration law, US labor law and US civil rights law.

    Shame on you Chancellor Russell T. Perkins. Shame on you! The illegal employer of the illegal alien engaged in unlawful activity is the only entity liable for the man's injury, and that Sir is what you should have ruled.
    MW likes this.
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