SEPTEMBER 2016 | Washington Lawyers' Committee eNewsletter
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Dear <<Salutation>>,

For more than 130 years, Labor Day has been a national holiday to honor the achievements and contributions of working men and women. While working conditions have improved and rights for workers have become embodied in law, fairness in the workplace remains elusive for far too many. 
 
At the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, we work every day to bring justice to the workplace. Read below about how we partnered with Arnold & Porter to represent Doris Garcia Hernandez, who was fired from her position as a line worker in a Chipotle restaurant when she had to take leave for a prenatal appointment. We are all humbled by her courage to stand up for her rights and to give voice to low-wage workers who often lack recourse.
 
Thank you for standing with us, and with Ms. Hernandez.

Jon Smith
Executive Director, Washington Lawyers' Committee

Chipotle Verdict: Pregnancy Discrimination Victory
Doris Garcia Hernandez was a top-performing employee working the burrito line at Chipotle in Dupont Circle. Then she told her manager that she was pregnant. He began limiting her access to water and the bathroom, and ultimately fired her after she left work early for a prenatal appointment.
 
This August, a jury awarded Doris $550,000. For Doris, the verdict is more than a vindication of what she went through—it is a clear message to all employers that they can’t discriminate against pregnant women like her.
Brookland Manor Complaint Filed
[O]ur village is being torn apart,” named plaintiff Adriann Borum explained last week. Ms. Borum and Loretta Holloman, joined by ONE DC, are bringing a class action to challenge the discriminatory redevelopment of Brookland Manor. The planned redevelopment would displace nearly 150 families. Appallingly, defendant Mid-City Financial Corporation has “justified” this discrimination on the basis that large families are “not consistent with the creation of a vibrant new community.” Covington & Burling LLP and the WLC filed the action on behalf of the tenants.
Litigation Victory for
Maurice Alexander
A DC federal district court recently issued an important opinion acknowledging the viability of disparate impact claims under the Fair Housing Act relating to criminal history policies. This means Maurice Alexander’s case will move forward. His story is just one example of the unfair collateral consequences of arrests and convictions that have a disparate impact on so many African Americans in the DC metro community.
Staff Spotlight: Brook Hill
Today, Brook Hill begins an Equal Justice Works fellowship with the WLC. During his fellowship, Brook will represent tenants and tenant associations to preserve affordable housing in DC and ensure landlords follow fair housing, relocation, and landlord/tenant laws. A window exists right now in DC to preserve affordable housing and pursue landlords who illegally discriminate or use methods like ignoring maintenance needs to constructively evict residents. Brookland Manor is one example of how the WLC is pushing back.
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The Forgotten Workforce
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have taken an enormous toll on migrant laborers recruited by U.S. military contractors—laborers like Gunaraj Dahal. In 2009, Mr. Dahal was permanently injured on the job. His employer put him on a plane back to Nepal, hoping to never hear from him again. Fortunately, we were able to help him.
DC Public School Partnership Luncheon

Join WLC’s school partners and DC Public School leaders for lunch on Wednesday, September 28 at 12pm. Our DC Public School Partnership Luncheon is an ideal opportunity for firms or organizations to learn about the wide variety of projects that WLC’s school partnerships support. We’ll highlight fall events, WLC’s Parent Engagement Pilot Program, an ongoing school funding case, and the Cross Sector Task Force.

Details: 9/28, 12-2pm at Akin Gump LLP (1333 New Hampshire Ave NW)
RSVP: Interested representatives may request an invitation from Kent Withycombe.
Fight Injustice & Inequality with WLC: Volunteer and Pro Bono Opportunities
More August News
 
“This is contrary to the most fundamental notions of due process, equal justice and fairness.” Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections. WLC’s Elliot Minceberg comments on the plight of deaf prisoners.
 
Committee and Other Education Advocates Throughout DC Exhort Mayor to Consider More Community Input Regarding Key Requirements for Selecting New DCPS Chancellor
 
Jonathan Smith Reacts to the Investigation of the Baltimore City Police Department by US Department of Justice
 
DC Jail continues to struggle.
 
“We know very little about what police do.” - Jonathan Smith at #NABJNAHJ16
Gratitude
 
Thank you to WLC’s co-counsel Peter Grossi for masterfully guiding the Chipotle matter to a successful verdict, along with an incredible team from Arnold & Porter: Andrew Treaster, Sarah Warlick, Matthew Phillips, Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, Kelby Ballena, Bailey Roe, and Romaine Barr.
 
We are tremendously grateful to Crowell & Moring for sponsoring our outgoing and incoming Equal Justice Works fellows, Christine Tschiderer & Brook Hill.
 
Best wishes to WLC’s Office and Research Assistant Kevin Simms in his new job at Arnold & Porter. Thank you for all of your excellent work here.

Thanks to our law firm partners for getting DCPS students ready for the first day of school!

 
We miss our interns! Thank you for your invaluable contributions to the WLC this summer.
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