Undocumented Workers’ Right to Compensation for Workplace Injuries

After a 10-year legal battle, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has issued a decision affirming the right of millions of undocumented workers to protection from exploitation and discrimination in the workplace. The challenge, led by the National Employment Law Project, the ACLU, and the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s Transnational Legal Clinic, was brought on behalf of two workers who were reported to immigration authorities and prosecuted, rather than receiving the treatment to which they were entitled for injuries suffered on the job.

In its decision, the IACHR determined that the United States is responsible for violating workers’ human rights by denying them the right to equality before the law and access to justice and labor protections. The IAHCR made several recommendations to address those violations including:

  • providing adequate monetary compensation to remedy the violations;
  • ensuring all federal and state laws and policies, on their face and in practice, prohibit any and all distinctions in employment and labor rights based on immigration status and work authorization, once a person commences work as an employee;
  • prohibiting employer inquiries into the immigration status of a worker asserting his or her employment and labor rights in litigation or in administrative complaints;
  • ensuring that all workers are granted the same rights and remedies for violations of their rights in the workplace;
  • establishing a procedure for undocumented workers involved in workers’ compensation proceedings to request the suspension of deportations until receipt of appropriate medical treatment and resolution of claims; and
  • improving and enhancing the detection of employers who violate labor rights and exploit workers because of immigration status and impose adequate sanctions against those employers.

For the full report from the ACLU, click here.



Updates to OSHA’s Recordkeeping Rule

The federal government is tightening rules on the reporting of workplace deaths and severe injuries. Establishments located in States under the Federal Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) jurisdiction must begin to comply with the new requirements on January 1, 2015, reporting any fatalities within eight hours of the accident or incident. Also, all work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations and loss of an eye must be reported within 24 hours to OSHA.

Previously, OSHA’s regulations required such reports to be filed only if three or more workers were killed or hospitalized while on the job. The agency said no company will be exempt, no matter how small.

“We can and must do more to keep America’s workers safe and healthy,” Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez said in a statement. “Workplace injuries and fatalities are absolutely preventable, and these new requirements will help OSHA focus its resources and hold employers accountable for preventing them.”

Read the full updates here.

Workers’ Memorial Day 2014

“Workers’ Memorial Day is observed every year on April 28. It is a day to honor those workers who have died on the job, to acknowledge the grievous suffering experienced by families and communities, and to recommit ourselves to the fight for safe and healthful workplaces for all workers. It is also the day OSHA was established in 1971. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their workers. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.”

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez will join in a webcast at 2 p.m. EDT today, April 28, to mark Workers’ Memorial Day. Safety agencies worldwide will do the same — NIOSH, OSHA, IOSH, and many more.

No one should have to die in order to make a living.

Hundreds of DPW employees from throughout the state line the street at St. Patrick's Church in Natick in early February for the funeral procession of Michael McDaniel, the Natick DPW worker killed on the job at a road excavation site. Daily News Staff File Photo / Allan Jung

Hundreds of DPW employees from throughout the state of Massachusetts line the street at St. Patrick’s Church in Natick in early February for the funeral procession of Michael McDaniel, the Natick DPW worker killed on the job at a road excavation site. Daily News Staff File Photo / Allan Jung

“Michael McDaniel was just doing his job as public works foreman, trying to fix a water main break when he was struck and killed by a backhoe in February. The 48-year-old worked for the Natick Department of Public Works for 26 years. Co-worker Scott Spurling was injured in the accident. Each week an average of 28 municipal workers in Massachusetts alone suffer injuries serious enough to be out of work for five or more days, according to data from the Massachusetts Department of Industrial accidents.” Read more on this story from the Patriot Ledger here

For more information and data on workplace deaths and injuries nationwide, visit OSHA.