LAS-ELC client recounts experience fighting for her rights

Legal Aid at Work staff members working with a client

After her divorce in China in 1992, our client struggled to support her son and eventually decided to move to the U.S. The difference she found here, she says, was that low-income workers like her have rights. And the LAS-ELC, she says, has helped her to realize those rights. Three times.

“Ten years ago, I ran into some wage trouble with an employer,” says Ms. Li, who asked us not to use her full name. “I was given the name of the organization by a social worker. LAS-ELC helped me, quickly and efficiently. It was very kind of them. I kept their card and number.”

Again in need of employment-related legal help this year, she asked a social worker for suggestions and again was referred to LAS-ELC. She had been working as a home caregiver for  a 95-year-old woman who had died. When Ms. Li applied for unemployment benefits a month later, the EDD rejected the claim for lateness.

LAS-ELC appealed the dismissal and won, but Ms. Li still didn’t receive her benefits. It turned out EDD was penalizing her for mistakes she made made on a form she had submitted three years prior. By the time this was cleared up, she had exhausted all the benefits available to her. Still, Ms. Li was satisfied.

“The acknowledgement was enough,” says Ms. Li. “This is already so much more than what I would have had in China, with only myself to support my family… There were days I did not eat so that my child could. To have rights as a worker in this country, in America, is a blessing.”

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