Republicans Pass Bill To Shield Illegal Employers
Legislation that would remove illegal aliens from workers compensation had no support from business
November 30, 2017
[ John A. Boccieri Home | John A. Boccieri Press ]

State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today expressed his frustration with Republican members of the House Insurance Committee who passed a bill Wednesday that would incentivize employers to hire illegal immigrant workers by taking them out of the workers compensation system. House Bill 380 (Reps. Seitz, Householder) passed on a party-line voted despite having no organizations testify in support of the bill and eight diverse organizations opposed.

“Not one business or interest group came out in support of this bill, which has the effect of enabling illegal employers to hire more illegal aliens,” Boccieri said. “We are giving employers a shield for hiring illegal aliens by shifting the responsibility to pay medical bills from employers and the workers’ compensation system to taxpayers.”

HB 380 inadvertently works to encourage employers to hire illegal immigrants by removing much of the employer responsibility to confirm the immigration status of the individuals they hire, putting the full burden of proof on the worker and creating the assumption that the employer hired the illegal worker legally. By making undocumented workers ineligible for workers compensation, the bill allows employers to avoid responsibility for injuries these workers acquire while on the job, regardless of whether workplace conditions were unsafe.

The legislation also creates a cost shift from employers to taxpayers. Any undocumented worker who requires emergency room services after a workplace injury would not have those costs covered by workers compensation, thus forcing hospitals to pass the cost on to other patients.

“Under this bill, employers would be saving money and skirting liability for any worker injuries, while letting hardworking taxpayers pick up the tab,” Boccieri said. “This is a completely unfair cost shift, liability shift, responsibility shift – and who is getting the shaft? The answer is hardworking Ohioans, and that’s not good public policy.”

HB 380 now awaits a vote in front of the full House. 

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