Current Size: 100%
Workers Rights Task Force
Chair: Alecia Frisby and Louis Dorsey
Statewide Support Unit Advocate: Frank Natale
Workers Rights Forum Posts
If you are a member of the Task Force, find the GoToMeeting information at: http://www.mdjustice.org/EmploymentTaskForceGoToMeeting.
Be sure to sign in to see the page.
Locations of each meeting:
February 3 - Frederick?
June 2 - Easton
Today, December 13, 2010, the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) and the American Bar Association began an unprecedented collaboration providing for an Attorney Referral System. When Fair Labor Standards Act or Family and Medical Leave Act complainants are informed that the Wage and Hour Division is declining to pursue their complaints, they may also be given a toll-free number to contact the newly created ABA-Approved Attorney Referral System. In addition, WHD will also provide prompt relevant information and documents on the case to complainants and representing attorneys. Please visit the Attorney Referral System Webpage for more information on this collaboration.
The District Court website has some pretty decent materials for people trying to represent themselves in court, but the pages may be buried pretty deep on that website. Here is the link for the main Self Help page:
Topics covered include:
Please think about referring clients to these webpages for help when you are not able to represent them.
The Maryland Access to Justice Commission has developed a PowerPoint video about how to file a small claims case. It is available at:
In addition, the District Court has a good page on their website for pro se litigants at:
Take a look at the video - it is a bit over 12 minutes long - and let's talk about how we might do similar videos for clients. Because there is audio, this is a pretty simple way to create accessible materials for clients who are blind, or who cannot read very well.
Most importantly, as this is not directly on the District Court website, yet, refer intakes to this website!
The Board of Directors of the Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC) has selected persons and organizations to receive its 2010 legal services awards. F. Vernon Boozer, Chairman of the MLSC Board, Maryland Chief Judge Robert M. Bell and members of the MLSC Board will present the awards at the organization’s annual awards reception on Monday, December 6, 2010, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore Hotel.
Ward B. Coe III of Gallagher Evelius & Jones LLP, will receive the Arthur W. Machen, Jr. Award. This award is presented annually to an attorney (usually in private practice) who has rendered extraordinary service by providing civil legal services to the poor or by improving the civil legal services delivery system for such persons. Throughout his long and established career as a practicing attorney in the public and private sector in Maryland, Mr. Coe has had a strong record of support of legal services to the poor, especially his extensive involvement in the lengthy class action suit to reform the Baltimore City foster care system and service as chair of the statewide Standing Committee on Pro Bono. ,
Wilhelm H. Joseph, Jr.executive director of the Legal Aid Bureau, will be honored as this year’s recipient of the MLSC Benjamin L. Cardin Distinguished Service Award. This award is presented annually to an outstanding public interest attorney regularly involved in providing, promoting or managing civil legal services to the poor. Mr. Joseph, who has led the Legal Aid Bureau for 14 years, has advocated for the poor through his long civil rights career, his efforts with the filing fee initiatives in the Maryland General Assembly and many other accomplishments.
This year’s William L. Marbury Outstanding Advocate Award, for a non-attorney who has demonstrated outstanding service representing the rights and legal needs of low-income persons or by expanding access to justice for such persons, will be presented to Carole J. Alexander, former executive director of the House of Ruth. Ms. Alexander was the longest serving director, transforming the domestic violence landscape with meaningful protections and services for victims in Maryland and creating the legal services clinic, which has been a national model.
MLSC is presenting the Herbert S. Garten Public Citizen Award, which honors an entity or organization not regularly engaged in the delivery of legal services to low-income persons, to two law firms, Dickstein Shapiro LLP and Hunton & Williams LLP, because of their dedicated pro bono services on behalf of immigrants’ rights in cooperation with the Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services in Silver Spring and the Montgomery County Family Justice Center. Both firms provide legal counseling five afternoons a week to immigrant domestic violence victims and recruit, train and mentor other pro bono attorneys who take cases related to visas and citizenship as well as domestic violence.
The MLSC Board is also presenting Awards of Special Recognition to Senator Brian E. Frosh and Delegate Kathleen M. Dumais, of the Maryland General Assembly, who were leaders in the legislature working tirelessly to assure the passage of the filing fee surcharge legislation in 2010 to benefit funding for legal services to low-income Marylanders. Additionally, MLSC will recognize Marguerite Gardner, who retired after serving as administrative assistant for the Legal Services to the Elderly Program of the Bar Association of Baltimore City since its inception and providing compassion and patience as a "first responder" to every senior that contacted the office. MLSC will also recognize the outstanding service of outgoing Board member Douglas S. Snyder, Ph.D. of Bowie.
MLSC annually solicits nominations for legal services awards from bar associations, legal services programs and other interested persons and organizations. MLSC was established by the Maryland General Assembly in 1982 to receive and distribute funds to nonprofit organizations that provide civil legal assistance to low-income persons. From its inception, MLSC has made grants totaling over $138 million to help provide services in more than 1.7 million legal matters for Maryland’s families in areas of family, housing, consumer, employment, health care and other civil legal matters.
|PressRelease MLSC Awards2010.pdf||33.8 KB|
Maryland has new website tool for job seekers
Posted: 12:04 pm Tue, September 21, 2010
By Associated Press
ANNAPOLIS — Maryland has launched a new tool on a website to help people find jobs.
Gov. Martin O’Malley on Tuesday announced an expansion of the Maryland Workforce Exchange. It brings together job search websites, employer websites and every job posting in Maryland in one place.
The Maryland Workforce Exchange identifies advertised Maryland jobs in real-time by industry, location, and how to apply.
The upgrades were funded by $3 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investments, and $1 million from the Labor Market Information Green Grant.
Visit https://maryland.geosolinc.com/ to learn more
From the Seattle Times:
FBI: 6 accused in forced labor of 400 Thai workers
By MARK NIESSE
Associated Press Writer
Six recruiters were accused Thursday of luring 400 laborers from Thailand to the United States and forcing them to work, according to a federal indictment that the FBI called the largest human-trafficking case ever charged in U.S. history.
The indictment alleges that the scheme was orchestrated by four employees of labor recruiting company Global Horizons Manpower Inc. and two Thailand-based recruiters. It said the recruiters lured the workers with false promises of lucrative jobs, then confiscated their passports, failed to honor their employment contracts and threatened to deport them.
Once the Thai laborers arrived in the United States starting in May 2004, they were put to work and have since been sent to sites in states including Hawaii, Washington, California, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah, according to attorneys and advocates.
Many laborers were initially taken to farms in Hawaii and Washington, where work conditions were the worst, said Chancee Martorell, executive director for the Los Angeles-based Thai Community Development Center, which represents 263 Thai workers who were brought to the U.S. by Global Horizons.
A woman who answered the phone at Global Horizons' Los Angeles office refused to take a message seeking comment Thursday.
The six defendants include Global Horizons President and CEO Mordechai Orian, 45; Director of International Relations Pranee Tubchumpol, 44; Hawaii regional supervisor Shane Germann, 41; and onsite field supervisor Sam Wongsesanit, 39. The Thailand recruiters were identified as Ratawan Chunharutai and Podjanee Sinchai.
They face maximum sentences ranging from five years to 70 years in prison, according to the Department of Justice.
Orian wasn't home when the FBI attempted to arrest him in Los Angeles on Thursday, but his surrender is being negotiated, said FBI Special Agent Tom Simon. Orian's attorney, Alan Diamante, didn't return a phone message seeking comment.
Two were arrested Thursday morning in Los Angeles and Fargo, N.D., said Simon. Another Global Horizons employee was expected to turn himself in, and the United States will work with Thailand's government to apprehend the remaining two suspects.
"In the old days, they used to keep slaves in their places with whips and chains. Today it's done with economic threats and intimidation," Simon said.
Honolulu immigration attorney Melissa Vincenty said the indictment against Global Horizons is a major blow to labor trafficking nationwide.
"Global was the big fish in all of this. It's a pretty big case, with hundreds and hundreds of workers," said Vincenty, who represents 56 of the Thai laborers. "They're all over the United States."
Call the Maryland Senior Legal Helpline at: (410) 951-7750 or 1-800-896-4213 ext. 7750 (in Maryland, outside of Baltimore City)
WHAT IS IT?
The Senior Legal Helpline is a free telephone service for persons living in Maryland aged 60 years or older.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
When you call the Senior Helpline, you may talk to a lawyer for legal advice, brief legal services, or for a referral to another lawyer or to an appropriate public or private agency.
The types of legal services we provide most often involve:
Public benefits Medicare Medical assistance
Long term care Access to health care Third-party decision making
Neglect Exploitation Landlord/Tenant
Home ownership Utilities Consumer problems
We do not provide services in:
Criminal cases "Fee-generating" cases Traffic court cases
HOW DOES IT HELP?
The Helpline supplements the work of the Title III-B legal services programs by offering additional opportunities for legal assistance for seniors who ordinarily do not have ready access to a lawyer. By providing these services over the telephone, seniors may get some help for their legal problems without having to leave home. The Helpline will also coordinate existing sources of assistance to help resolve the legal problems of older people.
WHEN CAN I CALL?
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Thursday: 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Telephone translation is available for speakers of over 170 languages.
TTY Users, call the Maryland Relay at 7-1-1.
If you are a Task Force member, find the GoToMeeting link at:http://www.mdjustice.org/EmploymentTaskForceGoToMeeting.
If you are a Task Force member, find the GoToMeeting information at: http://www.mdjustice.org/EmploymentTaskForceGoToMeeting.
A New York Times article from May 23, 1010: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/24/business/economy/24childcare.html?th&emc=th
9th Annual Aging & Law Conference: The Changing Face of Aging
REGISTRATION OPENS JULY 1, 2010
Conference Highlights: • More than 50 workshops focusing on cross-cutting issues in the law, aging and advocacy with a special emphasis this year on changes in the demographics and socio-economics of aging (e.g. issues of race, gender, sexual identity, the impact of the current recession etc.) Sponsored By: National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
• Nationally recognized speakers and presenters in the field of elder law
• Opportunities for networking with legal services and aging advocates across the country
• Special sessions on Health Care Reform programs and its impact on older adults
• Pre-conference "Nuts and Bolts of Elder Law" on December 8, 2010
• or more information, or to Register, go to www.aarp.org/nalc
National Consumer Law Center
National Association of State Units on Aging
ABA Commission on Law and Aging National Senior Citizens Law Center
The Center for Social Gerontology
Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc.
• More than 50 workshops focusing on cross-cutting issues in the law, aging and advocacy with a special emphasis this year on changes in the demographics and socio-economics of aging (e.g. issues of race, gender, sexual identity, the impact of the current recession etc.)
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
|NALC Save the Date.doc||613 KB|
If you are an Employment Law Task Force Member, find the GoToMeeting information at: http://www.mdjustice.org/EmploymentTaskForceGoToMeeting.
I was asked about whether we have the technology to meet the needs of deaf clients. This requires some research, which I am still in the process of doing. I have collected some very relevant materials which I am posting here.
Every advocate and employee who may interact with a deaf client should be reading these materials so that they are prepared before meeting with deaf clients. While I do not have all the answers about how to adequately handle interactions with deaf clients, and that should be handled by the committee developing the Language Access Policy, these materials are very useful, and indicate generally that you should first consult with the client about what they feel would be the most effective way to communicate with them about their case, and then use that method as your primarily means of communication. ASL interpretters appear to be the MOST effective way of communicating with clients about complex legal issues, if the client communicates via ASL, but these materials suggest we take our cues from the individual client.
There are also various telephone relay options, and I have provided materials about that as well. Many of these are technologies provided via our tax dollars, and require no specialized equipment be purchased, or even any cost to the users, but they do require that the employee understand what the client is talking about when the client requests that these services be used. The best known technology is Maryland Relay, but there are others that may be more appropriate, or preferred by the client, and employees need to familiarize themselves with these technologies in order to serve our clients.
Directly relevant is the article Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf/Blind clients: A quick reference for Legal Aid Offices. The article is by Sharon Caserta, who wrote the Handbook below. This is a Clearinghouse Review article, so I cannot attach it. We have an account with Clearinghouse Review, so Legal Aid attorneys can, from their own office computers, go to this link: http://www.povertylaw.org/clearinghouse-review/issues/2007/september-october-2007-clearinghouse-review/sidebars, to download the report to read it. It is one of several articles in the "sidebars" section of that issue.
The attached documents include explanations of how some of the different telephone relay services work, services other than what Maryland Relay provides. They can help you understand what resource a client is asking you to use does, as well as explaining how it works. The FCC website below is where I got some of these, and it provides a lot of good information about other technologies, as well as about the companies that provide these services.
See also these links: