Low-wage workers are extremely vulnerable to exploitation in the workplace. All too often, NYLAG’s Justice at Work Project sees clients who have not been paid minimum wage or overtime compensation or who have suffered discrimination or harassment. The Project provides free representation and counsel to low-income workers to ensure that their rights are enforced in the workplace.

Low-income immigrant workers are particularly susceptible to abuse in the work place as many are unaware of their legal rights. They may experience poor working conditions, unreasonable demands to work overtime, and/or unlawful and inadequate wages.

The Justice at Work Project has helped many immigrant workers obtain their deserved compensation. For example, the Project recently filed a complaint in federal court against a restaurant that routinely required its immigrant employees to work long hours for no overtime compensation. The Project successfully obtained a favorable settlement for more than $35,000 in unpaid overtime compensation on behalf of two of the restaurant’s workers.

Currently the Project is litigating on behalf of Ms. B, a client who was demoted to a part-time position just weeks after announcing her pregnancy. Two months after Ms. B filed a complaint against her employer, she was terminated from her position. With NYLAG’s help, Ms. B is challenging her demotion and termination.

Under the supervision of NYLAG attorney Elena Goldstein, pro bono attorneys help the Justice at Work Project reach more clients and secure favorable settlements. Attorney Alexia Schapira began volunteering at NYLAG this past winter. As one of NYLAG’s in-house volunteers, she contributes 3 days each week to working with the Justice at Work Project. Alexia is making a significant contribution in upholding immigrant rights. In her own words, Alexia’s experience has been gratifying: “I really enjoy working in an organization that has expertise in so many legal fields. I plan on volunteering indefinitely at NYLAG.”

NYLAG currently has 147 in-house volunteers and law students that work diligently to further NYLAG’s mission.