Employment Discrimination & Work Authorization
When someone is arrested, their ability to support themself and their family is immediately threatened. For many years in New York, the presumption of innocence lacked legal protections in the workplace. Therefore, many workers were fired for having an open criminal legal court case. Employers did not need to perform any individualized evaluation of the employee’s circumstances. In 2019, we and our allies won major employment protections which prevent court cases resolved with adjournments in contemplation of dismissal from being used against job applicants or current employees. In 2020, the New York City Council passed legislation offering additional protections for individuals with pending court cases and unsealed violations.
During the COVID-19 crisis, we have worked with other advocates to support immigrant workers who–though they hold the majority of jobs considered “essential”–face low pay and hazardous conditions. Once let go, they are excluded from the benefits and relief that, however inadequate, provide a lifeline to so many others.