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Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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I had an illegal employee working for me for about 3 months

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I had an illegal employee working for me for about 3 months now. I was paying him cash. I got into a crash few days back and now he is stating that he was injured in the crash, complaining of some neck and back pains. My insurance will cover his medical bills, but he decided to hire a lawyer to sue me for compensation. I don't have workers comp, and now I just received a letter from workers comp office stating "Subpoena duces Tecum" and they want me to turn in all his docs (pay stubs, job application). Since he is working illegally for me, I don't have anything to show. What is the worst situation we are looking at?
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm very sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

Unfortunately, failing to have workers' compensation coverage (on legal workers on undocumented workers) is considered a relatively serious offense under California law, and can result in a large fine or jail time. (For a first offense, however, it is extremely unlikely to result in jail time).

See California Labor Code Section 3700.5

3700.5. (a) The failure to secure the payment of compensation as
required by this article by one who knew, or because of his or her
knowledge or experience should be reasonably expected to have known,
of the obligation to secure the payment of compensation, is a
misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail for up to
one year, or by a fine of up to double the amount of premium, as
determined by the court, that would otherwise have been due to secure
the payment of compensation during the time compensation was not
secured, but not less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both
that imprisonment and fine. (even though your employee was undocumented, you are still required to have workers' compensation coverage on him).

It wouldn't pay to try to construct these documents. Instead, I suggest that you be upfront and inform them that you do not have them, as this could help you negotiate a settlement with you and avoid possible criminal charges.

Additionally, you would also be liable for the employee's health care expenditures if he is found to have injured his neck and back through work.

Also, if you knowingly hired an undocumented worker, you could potentially be liable for a $250-$2,000 fine if ICE ends up finding out about this. However, workers' compensation will not necessarily report this matter to ICE.

So, worse case scenario is a few thousand dollars in fines and having to cover the employee's work-related injuries.

(However, this would count as a first offense. If you're caught in the future, you could wind up getting jail time and a harsher penalty).

Since my goal is to provide you with the best service, please don't hesitate to ask me any follow up questions.

If you don't have any, please remember to rate my answer positively so I get credit for my work.

Thanks and best of luck!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Thank you for your feedback. I don't have any employees so I really didn't feel the need of having workers comp. I just had this guy help me out some days (about 2 days a week sometimes). So I guess I need to just show up on the given date and be upfront about it and tell them that I do not have workers comp.


Also, If we do reach a settlement outside, can the other party withdraw their case now or is it too late since workers comp dept already knows about it?


Hello Ricky,

Happy to help!

Yes, the other party can withdraw their case and would do so in exchange for the settlement. (You wouldn't want to agree to a settlement unless the other party agreed to withdraw his or her workers' compensation case).

Please remember to rate my answer positively so I get credit for my work!

If you don't rate my answer, the website recoups your entire deposit and I get nothing for assisting you. Trust me when I tell you I need the money WAY more than they do, so I would greatly appreciate if you accept my answer!

Again, if you have any follow up questions or need any additional information, please don't hesitate to ask.

Thanks again and best of luck!
Joseph and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Hello Ricky,

Thank you for your positive rating of my service!

Please contact me on JustAnswer should you have any further legal issues.

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Thanks again and best of luck!