On July 15, 2013, LAS-ELC's Mobile Workers’ Rights Clinic (Clinic) will partner with OneJustice’s Justice Bus® Project (Project) and Hanson Bridgett LLP to provide a free workers’ rights clinic to residents of Contra Costa County. Individuals attending the clinic will meet with volunteer attorneys and law students to discuss a variety of employment-related problems, including unpaid wages, unemployment insurance, discrimination, and much more.
We welcome our new Shartsis Fellow, Lan Diep, who will be supervising the Vietnamese American Workers' Rights Project in the South Bay. He will provide community outreach and public education on rights in the workplace and will engage in limited representation on behalf of low income Vietnamese American workers in and around San Jose.
The Daily Journal has named Senior Staff Attorney Jinny Kim to its annual "Top Labor & Employment Lawyers" list, which honors leading attorneys in California whose work is making an impact on society and the legal profession. Jinny is an accomplished civil rights litigator, who has, throughout her 14 year career, advocated for the employment rights of disabled workers.
A settlement has been reached in a landmark discrimination case involving a transgender police officer in the Bay Area. The case was brought by the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center and the Transgender Law Centeron behalf of “Officer T.,” a 17-year veteran of the police department who was subjected to serious discrimination and harassment by other officers after he transitioned from female to male.
We are delighted to announce that LAS-ELC WageHELP Program Director Fernando Flores has been appointed to serve on the California State Bar’s Labor and Employment Law Section Executive Committee from October 2013 until October 2016. As a member of this distinguished group, Fernando seeks to bring greater attention to the issues facing low-wage workers while helping the committee fulfill one of its core missions: advancing diversity in the legal profession.
June 10th, 2013, marks the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, which requires employers to pay equal wages for equal work and expressly prohibits wage discrimination based on gender. But the wage gap persists, closing by less than half a cent each year. At this rate, it will take over 40 more years until women are paid equally for the work they do.
Chris Ho, Director of LAS-ELC’s National Origin, Immigration, and Language Rights Program, was honored by Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) for his work on behalf of immigrant and language minority communities at its Celebration of Justice on Thursday, June 6th. The annual event honors key civic and community leaders engaged in the struggle for civil rights and social justice. CAA recognized Chris for the National Origin Program’s landmark litigation victories in Singh v. Jutla and Rivera v. Nibco, Inc., cases that have set widely-cited legal precedent enabling undocumented workers to more readily vindicate their workplace rights without fear of employer retaliation.
With the aim of ensuring that pregnant workers are able to keep their jobs and perform them safely, the U.S. Congress today reintroduced the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA). The bill, which has broad support, would require employers to make reasonable job modifications for pregnant women, such as providing a stool or help with heavy lifting.
The Senate today passed SB 400 (Jackson), co-sponsored by LAS-ELC, which would protect the employment of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. SB 400 would ensure that employers make appropriate workplace accommodations for victims, and that people experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking are not terminated for disclosing their victim status.
Immigrant Worker Sues Dairy & its Counsel for Contacting ICE in Retaliation for Asserting His Rights
Today, on behalf of Jose Arnulfo Arias, a Central Valley dairy worker, the Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center (LAS-ELC) and California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (CRLA) filed a lawsuit under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act in U.S. District Court in Sacramento against Angelo Dairy and its attorney, Anthony Raimondo of McCormick Barstow LLC, to vindicate the right of workers to be free from retaliation regardless of immigration status. You can read the complete press release here.
LAS-ELC is the organizational sponsor of three bills this legislative session that would enhance protections for workers in California. LAS-ELC attorneys testified in Sacramento in support of the bills, all of which passed out of committee last week – an important step toward protecting vulnerable workers in California.
We are pleased to announce that Shira Levine will join us this fall as a Stanford Public Interest Law Foundation (SPILF) Fellow. Each year, Stanford Law School awards Public Interest Fellowships to recent graduates who have a history of public service, who provide leadership within the law school, and who are committed to careers as lawyers in the public service.
We congratulate Kim Turner, John and Terry Levin Fellow for Fair Play for Girls in Sports, for being selected as one of The Recorder's 2013 Lawyers on the Fast Track. The second annual list includes 50 California attorneys whose early accomplishments indicate they will be tomorrow's top lawyers and leaders. All selected lawyers will be profiled in a special edition of The Recorder on June 24 and will be recognized at an awards gala on June 26.
Bill McNeil and Fernando Flores in the Daily Journal: The Effect of Arbitration Agreements on Low-Wage Workers
On April 3rd the state Supreme Court heard oral argument in Sonic-Calabasas A., Inc. v. Frank Moreno and considered the preemptive reach of the Federal Arbitration Act as it relates to the ability of claimants to pursue their claim using the labor commissioner’s “Berman” process. In an article in the Daily Journal, LAS-ELC attorneys Bill McNeill and Fernando Flores explain that the court’s decision could potentially prevent workers from utilizing the accessible and affordable administrative forum, and could instead require them to participate in the costly and complicated arbitration process when their employers subvert basic labor protections.
Senior Staff Attorney Sharon Terman was interviewed Monday, April 1st on Southern California Public Radio's Air Talk program about the recent nationwide spate of legislation guaranteeing paid sick days for workers. In the interview, Sharon explained the urgent need for paid sick days to ensure that low-wage workers are not at risk of losing a day’s pay -- or their jobs -- when they or their loved ones get sick. She went on to detail the ways in which such laws benefit public health, as well as employers, workers and their families.