Pro Bono News

Legal Aid to Fight Job Discrimination Through New Project (NY)

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Legal Aid to Fight Job Discrimination Through New Project

"NEW YORK — A new team of lawyers wants to help New Yorkers get to work once they're out of court. The Legal Aid Society's Worker Justice Project was launched last week with the goal of protecting people who have been accused or convicted of crimes from employment discrimination.

The project's pair of attorneys will offer advice on how criminal cases could affect a defendant's job prospects and bring lawsuits when employers mistreat people with criminal records — a problem that's "incredibly widespread," said staff attorney Melissa S. Ader.

"Part of the problem is that New Yorkers with criminal records don't know their rights, and part of the problem is that employers think that they have full discretion to discriminate against people with criminal records," Ader said. "But that is not true."

The Worker Justice Project is supported by city funding and currently has just two staff attorneys, but the legal services nonprofit hopes to expand it in the future with additional money, said Tina Luongo, the attorney-in-charge of Legal Aid's Criminal Defense Practice.

Through the project, Legal Aid's criminal defense clients in every borough will be able to get help from a lawyer about the employment consequences of their cases, Luongo said..."

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