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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 Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 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 Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Important Things To Know

The Recovery Rebate is the second COVID-related stimulus payment from the government.

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Legal Aid is compiling the most up to date information and resources for clients during the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

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Unemployment Insurance and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is available.

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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.
  • Arbitration – A process in which a trained attorney or a retired judge decides a dispute instead of the court; if the parties consent to arbitration, the arbitrator's decision is final; otherwise, a dissatisfied party can request a trial before the court.
  • Attorney – A person admitted to practice law and authorized to perform criminal and civil legal functions on behalf of clients.
  • Brief – A written document prepared by the lawyers on each side of a dispute that is submitted to the court in support of each side's argument. It includes the points of law which the lawyer wishes to establish, the arguments the lawyer will use, and the legal authorities on which the lawyer rests their conclusions.
  • 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.
  • Creditor – An individual to whom an obligation is owed because he or she has given something of value in exchange.
  • Defendant – In a civil matter, this refers to the individual being sued. This party is called the "respondent" in a summary proceeding. In a criminal case, the court officers and district attorneys will use this term to refer to someone accused of a 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.
  • Inquest – A non-jury trial, where one party has not appeared or defended against the claim, and after the merits of the claim have been proven.
  • Jurisdiction – The ability for the court to decide the case, based on the type of case.
  • Landlord – A lessor of real property; the owner or possessor of an estate in land or a rental property, who, in an exchange for rent, leases it to another individual known as the tenant.
  • Lawyer – Someone whose job is to give advice to people about the law and speak for them in court.
  • Lien – A claim on specific property for payment of a debt.
  • Maintenance – Repair and upkeep in housing. OR Money or other financial support awarded to a spouse in a divorce action for his or her separate support. Also called spousal support or alimony.
  • Minutes – Notes of what happened in the courtroom.
  • 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.
  • Motion – A request to the court, usually in writing, for relief before the trial on the parties' claims, or for different or additional relief after the trial decision.
  • Order of Protection – A court order requiring someone to stay a certain distance from another person, and sometimes, their children, home, pets, school or employment.
  • 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.
  • Plaintiff – The person suing. This party is called the "petitioner" in summary proceedings.
  • Probation – The condition of being allowed freedom if they commit no more crimes and follow certain rules.
  • Proceeding – A type of lawsuit. For example: 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.
  • Settlement – A written compromise reached by the parties and approved by a judge.
  • Social Security – A federal program that provides income, health insurance, and other benefits.
  • Subpoena – A court document used to compel a witness to testify at the hearing or to produce records.
  • Summons – A plaintiff's written notice delivered to the parties being sued, that they must respond to within a specific time.
  • 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.
  • Trial – The formal examination of a legal controversy in court so as to determine the issue.
  • Vacate – To cancel or set aside.
  • 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.
  • Warrant – An official document approved by an authority (normally a judge) which gives the police permission to do certain things.
  • Witness – A person who testifies to what they have seen, heard, or otherwise observed.