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An Employment Law Agenda

A Road Map for Legal Services Advocates

By Sharon M. Dietrich, Catherine Ruckelshaus, Jim Williams, Rick McHugh, Rachel Paster & Michele Palter

An employment law practice allows legal services advocates to address directly the needs of clients who want to work, are working, or have lost their jobs. Various federal, state, and local laws can help dismantle barriers, such as discrimination, domestic violence, disability, and "contingent worker" status, which prevent many low-income people from fully competing and participating in the workplace. Various legal tools and strategies protect the employment rights of welfare recipients in work programs, as well as those of the working poor. Those tools range from the wage and hour requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, workers' compensation, Occupational Safety and Health Act protections to the Family and Medical Leave Act, which can help clients keep their jobs in case of conflict between work and family.

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