Immigrant workers in New York City often do work for bosses who underpay or refuse to pay their workers. In the most recent study of New York City day laborers, 60% of day laborers reported being underpaid by their employer and 49% reported not being paid at all. Yet, as many of our members report, many day laborers are unaware of their rights and protections under the New York State wage and hour laws, or may not know how to exercise them. Even the workers who know how to exercise their rights often do not demand the wages owed to them because they fear retaliation from their bosses. In response to the community need for legal advice in wage theft cases, NICE has set up a wage theft legal clinic. Once a month, labor attorneys from the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center and Outten & Golden LLP come to NICE to provide a free consultation to immigrant workers who may have experienced wage theft or who need advice on possible wage and hour violations by their employers. NICE provides access to our wage theft legal clinic to members or potential members, typically day laborers and domestic workers from the community. Workers who receive help through the clinic are required to participate in committee meetings and collective actions. To access the clinic, a worker must first contact NICE to schedule an intake. If a case is not deemed appropriate for the clinic, we will make a referral to a trusted organization who may still be able to help the worker at a free or low-cost rate.
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