Nevada Supreme Courtroom: Injured unlawful employee entitled to advantages

The Nevada Supreme Court ruled that a foreign national seriously injured illegally in the workplace is entitled to compensation from the company’s insurer.

“Nevada’s Workers’ Compensation Act clearly protects anyone in the service of an employer, whether legal or unlawful, including foreigners,” the statement concluded. “Although federal law prohibits employers from knowingly employing an undocumented foreigner, it does not prohibit insurers from compensating undocumented foreigners for injuries sustained while on the job.”

The opinion is that the law excludes illegal foreigners from vocational training in order to be re-employed.

“However, we have confirmed the granting of a permanent partial disability benefit to an undocumented foreigner,” the judgment said, stating that the cash benefits paid by the insurer “do not contradict federal law or undermine the intention of the legislature”.

Manuel Ibanez was injured while working as a carpenter in 2014. He was injured when a two-by-four fall hit him in the head, shoulder and back. He needed several surgeries but was still unable to work and applied for permanent total disability status. Associated Risk Management denied the application on the grounds that the injuries were temporary and that he would be employable if he could work in the United States

A hearing officer found that Ibanez’s injuries were directly caused by the accident and that his lack of status was “not relevant” to his request for permanent assistance status.

The insurance company appealed, arguing that an undocumented foreigner was not entitled to permanent disability. The district court agreed with the appeals officer and declined judicial review.

The Supreme Court approved the District Court this week.

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