Company Must Pay Workers' Comp to Illegal Immigrant

October 20, 2005 ( - California's 2nd District Court of Appeals has ruled that the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) does not pre-empt California laws holding employers liable for injured employees regardless of such workers' immigration status.

The court’s ruling in Farmers Brothers Coffee vs. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board upholds previous findings by a workers’ comp judge and the state Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, according to Business Insurance.

The court found that Congress did not intend to preempt state labor laws when it passed IRCA, which provides penalties for employers that hire illegal immigrants.

In addition, according to Business Insurance, the appellate court found that an illegal immigrant’s use of a fraudulent Social Security card and number to obtain employment and file a workers’ compensation claim did not violate a state anti-fraud insurance code.   The employee in the case had not been convicted of fraud which is necessary to render a worker ineligible for compensation.