Updated 8/15/08 - The Utah Labor Commission is changing the rules of Workers Compensation. Many immigrants and racial minorities who are injured on the job may end up losing their benefits if Rule R602-4 is approved. The deadline for public comments is August 18, 2008.
Action Alert: Help Fight Discriminatory Workers Compensation Proposal
Read the ACLU of Utah's official statement on proposed Rule 602 below >>
ACLU of Utah's Statement on Labor Commission's Proposed Rule 602
The ACLU of Utah remains concerned that the Labor Commission's proposed Rule 602 will have a disparate impact on racial and ethnic minorities, including immigrants without papers.
Under the proposed rule, employers may request a hearing to terminate temporary disability benefits by firing the employee for any illegal activity, which could include working in the United States without citizenship or a visa. Without further clarification, this rule gives employers an incentive to cast doubt on the immigration status of injured employees and lacks any penalty for an employer who manufactures false accusations against injured employees.
Commissioner Hayashi has stated that marginalizing racial and ethnic minorities was not the intent of the new law and proposed rule and that the language is meant to apply to other types of illegal activities of employees. But we take little comfort in a vague assurance that the rule's ambiguous language will not be misapplied.
We encourage the Labor Commission to amend the rule so that it more closely matches the intent of the legislation without penalizing minority employees who are injured. Current Workers Compensation rules for permanent disability exclude the employee's citizenship or status from being considered. The same exclusion should be applied to proposed rule 602 for temporary disability.