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New York Lawmakers Introduce Workers’ Comp Anti-Retaliation Bill

Last Thursday, the New York Senate introduced a bill to protect workers’ rights further. If it passes, companies and employers can face severe penalties for discriminating against undocumented employees who pursue workers’ comp claims.

What Would Senate Bill S1488 Do?

S1488 would be an essential update to the state’s workers’ compensation law. While New York has laws on general workplace discrimination, the state’s law does not fully cover employer retaliation when an undocumented worker files for workers’ comp benefits.

The first section of this bill would further clarify what counts as employer retaliation and discrimination. Up to now, undocumented workers have few protections if they choose to file a workers’ comp claim. Even though they can legally get compensated, many don’t pursue one out of fear of being deported or let go.

Under this new provision, employer retaliation will include threatening to contact federal immigration authorities or reporting the worker or their family member’s immigration status to a state, local, or federal agency. If an employer is caught doing this, they will receive a fine between $500 and $2500 based on the case. 

How Will Senate Bill 1488 Help Workers’ Comp Applicants?

According to the bill’s justification, “benefits are available to employees regardless of their immigration status, and that discriminating against any workers, including DIFF undocumented workers, for filing such claims or otherwise exercising their rights under this law is illegal.”

Many employers have gotten away with intimidating these vulnerable employees into not filing claims out of fear of getting deported. If the state caught them exploiting their workers, they would only have to pay a maximum of $500– a figure that hasn’t changed since 1973.

But once S1488 passes, undocumented immigrants can assert their rights without the stress of choosing between their job and receiving benefits. Unscrupulous employers will also have to pay higher penalties for violations in the future.

Win The Compensation You Deserve

This bill makes it clear that New York’s labor laws are there to protect every worker in the state. Even if you’re undocumented, you’re still entitled to the same rights as any other employee. Still, there are some businesses that will use a person’s immigration status to exploit you. If you or someone you know has been intimidated by your employer for filing a claim, we’re here to help.

Our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers will hold your employer accountable for their actions. We will also guide you through the legal process and help you receive the benefits you’re entitled to. Please contact us using our website’s online form if you have any questions regarding your case. You can also call us at 855-280-7585 to schedule your free case review today. We serve Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and more.

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