Both President Obama and a bipartisan group of Senators unveiled plans for overhauling our nation’s immigration system this week, taking an important first step toward much needed comprehensive immigration reform. We are encouraged that our leaders are considering a pathway to citizenship and that the President proposes recognizing the rights of same-sex families for immigration purposes. If reform is done right, it will bring millions of immigrant workers out of the shadows while strengthening our economy and our communities.
We are thrilled to announce that the Vietnamese American Bar Association of Northern California (VABANC) has awarded the annual VABANC Public Interest Fellowship to the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center and Betty Duong. The Fellowship funds a recent law graduate to provide legal services and advocacy to the Vietnamese American community and other underserved, underrepresented communities.
In 2012, with the support of the American Bar Association, the California Legislature enacted AB 2122, a law requiring that the administrator of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) provide testing accommodations to test-takers with disabilities who need them, and to cease its practice of “flagging” LSAT scores achieved with accommodations.
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