The Wage Claim Clinic (WCC) serves as the entry point for all litigation and pre-litigation legal work that the Workplace Justice Project does. Workers come in every week to seek recourse when their bosses don’t pay. The stories they tell illustrate the challenges faced each day by low-wage workers trying to make a living for their families. These stories provide the foundation for not only the litigation work that we do, but also for our education and advocacy programs.
Demand for Wages
Workers make appointments for services at the clinic which is held every Thursday evening between 6:00 and 7:30 pm. This is where they begin their claim. The clinic requires that workers come prepared with the full name and address of the person who owes them wages. Staff members, law students, and volunteers use this information to help the workers to draft a demand letter and then sent it on the workers’ behalf.
Litigation is a major component of the Workplace Justice Project’s mission. We litigate wage claim and discrimination cases under federal and state laws, so that employers are held accountable, workers learn the power of standing up for their rights, and law students and volunteer lawyers gain valuable training and experience, thus expanding the number of attorneys who can litigate these cases.
If the worker is not paid after a demand letter has been mailed and received, the case is evaluated thoroughly to determine further legal action. The case may be litigated in State and Federal court, if appropriate. No matter the situation, we are committed to using all of the legal tools available to give the worker the best chance possible to reclaim their unpaid wages. This may include referring workers to other outside resources and attorneys. While there is never a guarantee of full recovery, we are able to assist workers in accessing legal remedies that would otherwise be difficult to obtain.
Since October 2008, we have recovered over $518,493 in wages for workers, through both demand letters and litigation.
If a worker is still not paid after a judgment is obtained through litigation, we seek access to resources to help collect wages post-judgment.
Education and Advocacy
Through the education and advocacy components of the Workplace Justice Project, we seek to find alternative ways to collect worker’s wages by advocating for policies that create stronger worker protections and more efficient recovery methods. Additionally, we educate workers and the community about worker rights. The stories heard at the Wage Claim Clinic lead such efforts.
As part of our educational efforts, we offer workers the opportunity to learn from and consult with a representative from the federal Department of Labor (DOL), the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Each agency presents once a month at the Wage Claim Clinic and collaborates with us to present expanded workshops.
Workers can contact us to make an appointment at the Wage Claim Clinic.