A lot of people do seasonal work in California, especially when they’re undocumented immigrants. The labor is, after all, desperately needed – particularly in agriculture
What happens to you, however, if you get hurt and you’re either a seasonal worker or undocumented (or both)? Seasonal workers come and go all the time, and your employer may tell you to just go home and come back when you’re able to work again.
Can they do that? Not legally. Here’s what you need to know.
Workers’ comp in California
California law says that all workers who are in service of an employer are bona fide employees for the purposes of the law. That means it doesn’t matter if you’re working part-time, seasonally or temporarily. It also doesn’t matter if you are a minor or are undocumented.
If your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation coverage (and most are), then you’re entitled to benefits. This includes both medical care for any work-related income and some replacement wages.
Why would your employer try to steer you away from making a claim? It comes down to simple economics: If an employer has too many injured employees making claims, their workers’ compensation premiums will go up. A lot of injuries indicate that a job is intrinsically hazardous or the employer isn’t doing enough to make sure that their employees are well-trained and protected.
If you were initially dissuaded from filing your workers’ comp claim because you were “just” seasonal help or undocumented, you may have a harder time getting the benefits you need. Experienced legal guidance can help.