January is Trafficking Awareness Month, a good time to think about how to identify victims of this terrible human rights violation and how best to advocate for them. According to the International Labor Organization, over three-quarters of the people trafficked across the globe are estimated to be involved in forced labor. They are extracting, harvesting, or producing different goods in countries worldwide. Even here in the U.S., these individuals toil in the shadows without freedom or access to justice.Read more
This past Sunday, November 18th, Senior Staff Attorney and Disability Rights Program Director Claudia Center debated libertarian Cato Institute's Walter Olson on the value of the Americans with Disabilities Act. During the debate, entitled "Is the Americans with Disabilities Act a Net Positive for the Workplace and for Society?", Claudia explained that the ADA provides full citizenship to people with disabilities and gives them some important tools to navigate an array of social and physical spaces. Read more
Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center is proud to celebrate Transgender Awareness week. We join LGBT centers, nonprofit organizations, and individuals across the country in calling attention to key issues affecting the transgender community. Read more
The Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices of the U.S. Department of Justice—Civil Rights Division is accepting comments as it prepares to develop guidelines on the topic of employer self-audits of I-9 forms. Comments can be submitted by email to: Osc.Engagement@usdoj.gov, and must be received by Friday, November 9, 2012.
The OSC is responsible for enforcing the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. § 1324b, which prohibits discrimination in hiring, firing, or recruitment or referral for a fee that is based on an individual’s national origin or citizenship status. The statute also prohibits unfair documentary practices during the employment eligibility verification process (I-9 verification process) on the basis of citizenship status or national origin, and retaliation or intimidation on these grounds.Read more
As more working mothers are—and remain—in the workforce, the issues of paid leave and equal pay for women have become more and more prominent. Today, three quarters of women entering the workforce will become pregnant at least once while employed, and a large proportion of them will remain in the workforce following childbirth.
However, the United States is one of the only developed nations that does not have a policy that mandates that paid leave be available when a child gets sick and a parent has to miss work to care for them. Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center has a history of supporting legislation to address these issues as well as providing direct services to women facing discrimination in the workplace or needing assistance to secure the leave to which they are entitled.Read more
Watch a video report from The Recorder on the newly launched Workers’ Rights Disability Law Clinic, at the Ed Roberts Clinic in Berkeley. The new Clinic is a project of the Legal Aid Society–Employment Law Center and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund and is now providing a full array of free counseling, advice, support, referral and employment-related legal services to workers and job seekers with disabilities every Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, November 16, 2011, the California Supreme Court agreed to review a lower-court opinion in a civil rights case that will have a broad impact on the rights of immigrant workers in California.
In its Petition for Review to the California Supreme Court, the LAS–ELC argued that the lower court had ignored well-established laws ensuring that all workers are fully protected by California’s labor and employment laws but also U.S. Supreme Court precedent preventing employers from evading responsibility for violating their workers’ rights simply because they may find evidence of unrelated employee wrongdoing. All seven California Supreme Court justices voted in favor of reviewing the case.Read more
Worker labored over 12 hour days for $2 an hour
A former solo laundromat attendant in Oakland is suing her employer, claiming gross violations of minimum wage and overtime laws. The plaintiff claims that she frequently worked over 12 hours a day for six and sometimes seven days in a row for as little as $2 an hour. “If proven, this would fall under the very definition of ‘wage theft’,” said Charlotte Noss, Skadden Fellow at The Legal Aid Society–Employment Law Center. “We would have an unscrupulous employer taking advantage of a hard working employee and paying her next to nothing—with no regard to state or federal labor laws whatsoever.”Read more
We are very pleased to announce that Legal Aid Society–Employment Law Center Senior Staff Attorney Sharon Terman is the recipient of this year’s Stanford Law School Miles L. Rubin Public Interest Award. The Award “recognizes an alumnus/a whose outstanding work has advanced justice and social change in the lives of vulnerable populations.”
Sharon’s entire career has been focused on advancing social justice. She worked at an array of public interest organizations as a law student; she accepted a Skadden Fellowship in 2005 to work in the LAS–ELC Gender Equity Program; and remained as a Staff Attorney where she now directs the LAS–ELC Work and Family Project.
This week, Governor Brown signed several important bills that protect the rights of low-wage workers, including:
- SB 299—Protecting Health Care Coverage for Pregnant Women and New Mothers
- AB 1236—Prohibiting the Mandated Use of the E-Verify System by Private Employers in California
- AB 1403—Recovering Costs of Court Interpreters for Indigent Persons
- AB 22—Curtailing Use of Job Applicant Credit Checks
- SB 459—Increasing Penalties for Willful Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors
The LAS–ELC strongly supported these bills.Read more