House Republicans approved House Bill 380 on Tuesday, which would block injured undocumented immigrants from filing workers’-compensation claims in Ohio. The proposal was hotly debated before passing 62-30 and will now be reviewed by the Senate, who removed similar language from the state Bureau of Workers’ Compensation budget earlier this year. Lawmaker debates ranged from the perception that the bill language is racist to concerns that the law will increase the number of undocumented workers hired in Ohio to save businesses workers’ comp costs. The ACLU of Ohio, the Catholic Conference of Ohio, the Ohio AFL-CIO and trial lawyers have voiced their opposition to the bill, and there has been a noticeable lack of support from Ohio business and labor groups.
From a financial impact standpoint, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation does not have data related to payments for undocumented workers, and the Legislative Service Commission said it could not estimate how much the bill would reduce benefit payments. If you have any questions regarding House Bill 380, please feel free to contact a member of our workers’ compensation practice. Otherwise, we will keep you apprised of the bill as it makes its way through the Senate.