Here they go again.
Presently, the Ohio Workers’ Compensation laws provide medical coverage and compensation payments to any employee who has the misfortune of being injured, diseased, or disabled as a result of performing their job in Ohio. After all, that’s the intent of the law – to make certain that our workers are cared for when they are injured while doing the job they were hired to do.
On April 3, 2012, SB 323 was introduced in the Ohio Senate. The bill, sponsored by Senators Seitz, Jordan, Balderson, and Schaffer, if passed into law, would deny the Workers’ Compensation medical and compensation protections in the event that the injured worker was undocumented.
While there are plenty of laws already in place that prohibit employers from hiring undocumented workers, wouldn’t it be a better idea to enforce more strongly those laws to keep employers from hiring illegal or undocumented workers, rather than to penalize the victims of injuries who now must struggle with covering medical costs and the loss of income that results from a disabling injury or disease? One can certainly make the argument that if this bill becomes law, there would be an even greater incentive for unscrupulous employers to hire undocumented workers – because if an undocumented worker gets hurt, the employer has no financial responsibilty to care for him or her. How’s that for a just result?
We’ve had several posts recently about prudence of having the legislature focusing on safety in the workplace and preventing injuries, rather than efforts to punish workers (documented or otherwise) who get hurt while performing duties that they were hired to perform.
The easiest way to prevent injuries to undocumented workers is for employers not to hire them in the first instance. Isn’t that much more humane than punishing them when they have the misfortune of getting hurt? What do you think?