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COVID-19: Law School's Workplace Justice Project Helps Area Residents Cope with Workforce Impacts

By Loyola University on Mon, 04/06/2020 - 15:50

The Loyola University New Orleans College of Law's Workplace Justice Project is helping area residents to cope with workforce impacts caused by COVID-19.  

Founded in late 2005 to meet the legal services needs of mostly immigrant low-wage workers, the WJP as its mission seeks to build resources and enforce workers’ rights, cultivating legal and economic opportunities to uphold and respect the dignity of all workers.

Though the College of Law has transitioned to delivering all courses online, the WJP remains open and active, accessible to eligible clients through its intake telephone line and through a new bilingual Google Intake Form.

The WJP is posting critical information related to employment issues , including a listing of employers with coronavirus-related openings, on its website and Facebook page as it becomes available.

The WJP is also currently coordinating resource-related information with the Music & Culture Coalition of New Orleans and Step Up Louisiana by creating an easy-to-understand flowchart for the benefit of workers and working families. This chart will be available in digital and textable form and will be distributed to those without digital access through food delivery sites, posting at grocery stores, and personal relationships.

With the help of unions and worker advocates in the hospitality, tourism and service industries, and cultural community, the Workplace Justice Project is developing strategies to secure paid leave and relief funds from the public money generated by workers in those industries.

Lawyers in the WJP are also monitoring rapidly-changing policy initiatives on unemployment and paid leave benefits at the state and federal levels, digesting their impact on workers, and planning for the future. They have become part of a policy team working with Rep. Matthew Willard to draft legislation that would require employers in the state to provide paid sick leave to their workers; if passed, more than 70 percent of employees in the state would have access to this benefit.