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Employment

The Legal Aid Society provides legal services to low-wage and unemployed workers on issues related to employment.

How To Get Help

The Employment Law Unit assists workers on cases pertaining to wage theft, workplace discrimination, family and medical leave, labor trafficking, and unemployment insurance. For assistance with any of the issues outlined above please call our Access to Benefits helpline at 888-663-6880 on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The Worker Justice Project combats discrimination faced by workers with arrest or conviction records living in New York City. If you have been denied a job or a license because of your arrest or conviction record, email the Worker Justice Project at WorkerJustice@legal-aid.org or call 888-663-6880 on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Important Things To Know

Preventing wage theft: Minimum wage, overtime, unpaid wages, and other wage and hour issues.

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Preventing discrimination: Your rights and an employer’s obligations under the anti-discrimination laws.

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Unemployment insurance: Temporary monetary benefits for recently unemployed workers.

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Terms You Might Hear

The justice system can be overwhelming. Get familiar with some legal terms and acronyms you might hear like appeal, adjournment, petition, jurisdiction, deposition, and affidavit.

  • Adjournment – A temporary postponement of a case until a specified future time.
  • Appeal – When either a plaintiff or defendant (sometimes both) asks a higher court to consider a lower court judge's decision.
  • Attorney – A person admitted to practice law and authorized to perform criminal and civil legal functions on behalf of clients.
  • Certificates of Good Conduct – If you have a criminal record, a Cerificate of Good Conduct can help you reduce legal barriers to employment, voting, and housing.
  • Certificates of Relief from Disabilities – A Certificate of Relief from Disabilities can remove certain consequences of a criminal conviction. Having a CRD can remove bars when applying for jobs, licenses, public housing and more.
  • Clerk – An official or employee of the court who maintains the files of each case, and issues routine documents.
  • Conviction – A criminal proceeding that concludes the defendant is guilty of the charged crime.
  • Delinquency – An offense or misdemeanor; a misdeed; A debt or other financial obligation on which payment is overdue.
  • Dismissal – Termination of a proceeding for a procedurally prescribed reason.
  • Evidence – A form of proof or probative matter legally presented at the trial of an issue by the acts of the parties and through witnesses, records, documents, concrete objects, etc., for the purpose of inducing belief in the minds of the court or the jury.
  • Expunge – To intentionally destroy, obliterate, or strike out records or information in files, computers, and other depositories.
  • Expungement Clearinghouse – The Expungement Clearinghouse expedites the updating of information provided to many commercial background screening providers in the U.S. by securely sharing data about expunged criminal records with participating member companies.
  • Felony – An offense of graver character than a misdemeanor and usu. punished by imprisonment for more than one year.
  • Hearing – A legal proceeding where an issue of law or fact is tried and evidence is presented to help determine the issue.
  • ICE – Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • Lien – A claim on specific property for payment of a debt.
  • Misdemeanor – Lesser crime punishable by a fine and/or county jail time for up to one year. Misdemeanors are distinguished from felonies which can be punished by a state prison term.
  • Monetary Determination – A determination issued to a worker in the form of a written notice which lists the base period employers and wages the claim was based on and the potential benefit amount.
  • Order – An oral or written command or a direction from a judge.
  • Parole – Early release of a prisoner who is then subject to continued monitoring as well as compliance with certain terms and conditions for a specified period.
  • Party – Person having a direct interest in a legal matter, transaction or proceeding.
  • Petition – In special or summary proceedings, a paper like a document filed in court and delivered to the respondents, stating what the petitioner requests from the court and the respondents.
  • Probation – The condition of being allowed freedom if they commit no more crimes and follow certain rules.
  • Proceeding – A type of lawsuit. In Housing Court, a nonpayment proceeding seeks past-due rent; a holdover proceeding seeks possession of the premises.
  • RAP Sheet – A record kept by law-enforcement authorities of a person's arrests and convictions.
  • TPS – Temporary Protective Status. Offers temporary legal status to certain immigrants in the United States who cannot return to their home country due to ongoing armed conflict, natural disaster, or other extraordinary reasons.
  • Waive – To voluntarily give up a right. Examples include not enforcing the terms of a contract, or knowingly giving up a legal right such as a speedy trial.
  • Witness – A person who testifies to what they have seen, heard, or otherwise observed.