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.
Each year, more than 19,000 members of our armed forces are raped or sexually assaulted at work. This epidemic of sexual violence has been called the "invisible war" due to a culture of silence which keeps survivors from reporting these crimes and can result in a lack of action when reports are made.
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.
April 9th is Equal Pay Day, a chance to acknowledge the persistent income gap between men and women and to commit to doing something to close it. Each year, Equal Pay Day is celebrated on the date that marks how much longer a woman must work to earn the same pay a man earned, on average, during the previous year. In 2012, women in the U.S. would have had to work 15 months and nine days to receive a paycheck equal to what men doing the same job received in just 12 months.
We are honored that we have been selected as the host organization for a two-year Shartsis Friese LLP (SF LLP) Public Interest Fellowship. This Fellowship will allow us to launch the Vietnamese American Workers Rights Project, which will provide free legal assistance to low wage workers in the South Bay.
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.
On March 21 and 22, LAS-ELC launched its first-ever “Mobile Workers’ Rights Clinic” (“MWRC”). Working in collaboration with One Justice, the Mobile Workers Rights Clinic brings free employment law counseling and information to low-wage workers in rural locations in California where they may not have access to legal assistance. The inaugural MWRC, staffed by law students from Pacific McGeorge School of Law, was held on March 21 in Ukiah and on March 22 in Kelseyville. Read more in the Ukiah Daily Journal.
We are delighted to announce that Ruth Silver Taube has joined us as a Senior Staff Attorney, shifting from her prior role as Special Counsel. She will continue to oversee the Workers’ Rights Clinic in the South Bay; conduct outreach and education on human trafficking, equal pay, and disability rights issues; and to provide expert consultation on ERISA disability benefits. She will also now oversee outreach and legal service provision to Vietnamese American workers in the South Bay.
Today, Wednesday, March 20th, Senior Staff Attorney Elizabeth Kristen testified before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about Legal Aid’s suggestions for the EEOC’s Quality Improvement Plan. In her testimony, Elizabeth described a number of ways in which the EEOC could improve its intake, investigation, and conciliation processes for low-wage, immigrant and underrepresented workers.