Economic Justice

In recent years we have strengthened our focus on economic justice issues as a result of workplace injustices we uncovered. Workplace discrimination issues disproportionately affect immigrant workers for a number of reasons. Language barriers, poverty and lack of awareness of their rights, and fear of retaliation often prevent them from seeking legal assistance or contacting governmental labor and law enforcement authorities. The scarcity of legal resources in high poverty areas and limitations on federally-funded legal service providers seriously complicate matters for undocumented immigrants. Of the few legal service providers that serve all immigrant workers regardless of status, none focus exclusively on Latinos, and few serve the geographic areas we work in.

Too often, the institutions that are supposed to benefit workers instead work against them. Recent immigrants often rely on local employment agencies that charge fees and largely control access to low-wage jobs, such as domestic and restaurant work. Employment agencies often take advantage of and defraud workers by charging exorbitant advance fees for unfulfilled services, knowingly place workers in jobs that violate state and federal labor laws, fail to pay minimum wage or overtime, and threaten to blacklist workers who complain. Domestic workers often rely on referral agencies to access per diem jobs that barely pay a poverty wage. Restaurant workers have been known to use these agencies only to find themselves working 70+ hours without earning minimum wage or overtime.

Programs

Latinas at Work

The purpose of the Latinas At Work Project is to challenge the systemic abuse of immigrant women workers in the metropolitan New York area. The exploitation of Latina immigrant workers is a serious and pervasive problem throughout the country. From factories, hotels, restaurants and other small businesses to private homes, workers are routinely subjected to exploitative labor conditions with long hours, illegally low wages and sexual harassment. The Latinas At Work Project seeks to challenge the systemic abuse of immigrant women workers. Read the full description of the program here.

Puerto Rico Debt Crisis

The burdens of the Puerto Rican Debt crisis are being shouldered disproportionately by the people in Puerto Rico. In an effort to shift this imbalance, we are working with activists in Puerto Rico and the United States to make sure that solutions developed respect the rights of the people in Puerto Rico more than the banks. You can read about a FOIA we filed for information concerning the federal fiscal control board established under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) here.

Economic Justice Legislation

LatinoJustice follows a number of laws at the local and national level about Economic Justice. Check back here regularly for updates on specific laws that hurt or benefit the community. The featured Economic Justice Legislation will be updated on a monthly basis. The first piece of legislation that we want to highlight is our testimony before the New York City Council on the Street Vendor Bill, you can read the testimony here.

Economic Justice Updates

LSAT Prep Course Registration: Spring-Summer 2017 Classes

The LatinoJustice PRLDEF LSAT prep course is truly unique. Over the past 45 years it has been the first step in countless legal careers. In fact, many of our alumni hold prominent positions in public service at major law firms and in major corporate law departments. Our course provides high quality, intensive instruction that is tailored to ensure students from all backgrounds achieve their best score.

LatinoJustice Opens Satellite Office in Touro Law Center in Long Island

LatinoJustice PRLDEF, a national leader in the fight for Latino civil and human rights, has opened up a satellite office located at the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center Randolph Hearst Public Advocacy Center in Central Islip. The office is staffed by a legal fellow and a community organizer, and will also be used by LatinoJustice’s NYC-based legal staff working in Long Island.

LatinoJustice & Dēmos File Amicus in Supreme Court Case Challenging Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law under the Voting Rights Act

LatinoJustice PRLDEF (“LatinoJustice”) and Dēmos submitted an amici curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court today in support of a petition for certiorari challenging Michigan’s controversial Emergency Manager Law, Public Act (PA) 436, arguing that laws which remove governmental authority from locally-elected officials in municipalities that have disproportionately large minority populations are discriminatory and subject to scrutiny under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, and that the Sixth Circuit ruled in error below by failing to examine the statute under Section 2’s totality of circumstances test. The amici are represented by Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.

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