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Roofers Raise Concerns About Workers Comp Denials For Undocumented Workers

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health via wikimedia commons

Florida roofers want state insurance regulators to crack down on companies that use a person’s immigration to status to avoid paying workers compensation claims.

Florida law requires workers comp claims be paid whether or not an employee can work in the U-S legally.  But in 2003, state lawmakers approved a change making it illegal to file a claim with bogus papers.  Now, professional employer organizations that manage workers comp for small businesses are using the change to avoid paying benefits.  Adam Purdy of Edwards Roofing says that’s wrong.

“It was not until after these employees reported a workers compensation claim that a PEO reports the employee as illegal and denies their coverage,” Purdy says.  “This is shameful and should not be tolerated.”

“The PEO had a duty to determine their legal status of their employees up front and not after a workers compensation injury has occurred,” he says.

An NPR/ProPublica investigation earlier this year showed undocumented workers were being deported instead of receiving care for their legitimate workers comp claims.  Purdy is encouraging state insurance regulators to get involved as lawmakers review the workers comp system.  

Nick Evans came to Tallahassee to pursue a masters in communications at Florida State University. He graduated in 2014, but not before picking up an internship at WFSU. While he worked on his degree Nick moved from intern, to part-timer, to full-time reporter. Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years. He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan. When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.