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Employment Direct Client Services
The Employment Unit provides representation, assistance, and advice in unemployment benefits cases at hearings, board of review, and the district court levels. Cases involving issues related to temporary work, disabilities, health or family needs, language barriers, immigrant work authorization and access to unemployment benefits-related training and health insurance are given priority for legal representation.
In addition, through our pro bono Employment and Healthcare Advocacy Project, we also refer unemployment benefits cases for pro bono representation by private law firms and law school legal clinics. The Employment Unit provides participants in this project with extensive training, materials, and support to ensure effective legal representation.
The Employment Unit provides low-wage immigrant workers with advice and representation in cases involving violation of the state and federal wage and hour laws. Claims include minimum wage and overtime pay violations, nonpayment of wages, misclassification of employees as independent contractors and other wage-related problems.
In our wage enforcement representation, we work closely with community-based organizations and prioritize for representation cases that are referred by community-based partners, or cases where a community group is undertaking parallel organizing, worker leadership development, and/or a public pressure campaign. We also prioritize cases where not enough money is at stake to attract private representation on a contingency fee basis or where other barriers to private representation exist.
The Employment Unit represents low-income immigrant and limited English proficient workers who have tax controversies with the IRS. Tax controversy areas of representation include tax deficiencies (e.g., under-withholding of taxes, employee misclassification, unreported income, and cancelation of debt income), claims for refunds (e.g., unresolved collections, incorrect filings, and missed exemptions) and identity theft.
We prioritize cases for representation where GBLS has represented the client in a related matter leading to a tax issue — such as recovery of unpaid wages — or where the case has been referred by a community group partner.
The Employment Unit provides legal assistance to enable individuals to take full advantage of the 2010 CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) law. Through on-site legal clinics at Roxbury District Court and Dorchester District Court, we provide advice, assistance and representation so that individuals can successfully petition to seal CORI records that prevent them from obtaining secure and good jobs.
We prioritize for full representation in court those cases where the Commission of Probation has refused to seal aged-out criminal convictions because an individual also has a non-sealable offense, as well as other individual cases that may lead to the creation of positive case law in the area of CORI sealing.