Undocumented Workers May Bring Retaliatory Discharge Lawsuits

by | Sep 10, 2015

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On August 5, the Tennessee Court of Appeals held that (under certain circumstances) an undocumented worker may bring a lawsuit for retaliatory discharge despite his or her immigration and work eligibility status. In the case of Torres v. Precision Indus., P.I., Inc., Mr. Torres was fired after he injured himself at work and contacted an attorney to represent him on his work comp. claim. The trial court dismissed Mr. Torres’ lawsuit finding that he did not have standing to bring the claim because he was an undocumented worker. The Court of Appeals disagreed finding that the purpose of a lawsuit for workers compensation retaliation in Tennessee was to protect workers’ rights to Workers Compensation Benefits. The Court reasoned that, if companies were allowed to hire undocumented or “illegal” workers knowing they could fire them if they were injured on the job and refuse to pay them work comp. benefits, this was detrimental to all workers, regardless of immigration status. In essence, if the Court were to find no such cause of action available to undocumented workers, employers would have an incentive to hire them and then retaliate against them if they are injured on the job.

It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against you for requesting workers’ compensation benefits. If you have been demoted or terminated after attempting to file a work comp. claim, contact an experienced attorney to discuss your legal rights.

Full text opinion may be accessed thru the following link: https://www.tba.org/sites/default/files/torresr_080514.pdf

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If you have been demoted or terminated after attempting to file a workers compensation claim, contact us to discuss your legal rights.