Earlier this month, a New York State appeals court upheld workers’ compensation benefits for an illegal alien injured while performing his job duties as a parking lot attendant. This decision was made by the appeals court, even though the illegal alien used another man’s identification to secure employment.
Benjamin Amoah, a native of Ghana, began working with Mallah Management LLC in 2003. Amoah was injured in 2005 while working and began receiving workers’ compensation benefits from his employer’s insurance company that provided the coverage. Sometime after he started receiving benefits, Amoah disclosed his true identity after the man who had lent him the identification documents demanded a share of the money Amoah was receiving from the insurer.
An administrative law judge in New York decided that Amoah’s use of false documentation did not prohibit him from receiving benefits for his work-related injuries. The New York Workers’ Compensation Board, which “receives and processes workers' claims for benefits, employers' reports of injury, and medical reports from physicians and other health care providers,” later affirmed the administrative law judge’s decision.
The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court agreed with the New York Workers’ Compensation Board’s affirmation of the decision, concluding that a criminal violation of federal immigration law does not pre-empt the New York State law.
According to the New York Workers’ Compensation Board’s website, “workers' compensation insurance provides weekly cash payments and the cost of full medical treatment, including rehabilitation, for covered employees who become disabled as a result of a disease or injury connected with their employment. It also provides payments for qualified dependents of a worker who dies from a compensable injury or illness.”