Community Justice Clinic

Nicole Hallett (far right), assistant clinical professor and director of the Community Justice Clinic, attending a DACA protest in Buffalo.

Community Justice Clinic

The Community Justice Clinic (CJC) represents low-income residents and communities in Buffalo on litigation as well as policy and community education projects.

The clinic takes on both individual cases and “impact” litigation designed to bring about a change in the law. Its policy and community education projects are undertaken on behalf of community organizations and coalitions.

Contact Us

Nicole Hallett, Director of the Community Justice Clinic

University at Buffalo
School of Law
507 O'Brian Hall, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
716-645-2167
law-cjc@buffalo.edu

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UB student attorneys negotiate reparations in a front-page wage-theft case

Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Wage theft – when an employee is denied wages, salary, or benefits they are entitled to under law – is unjust and illegal. However, often those who are impacted can’t afford lawyers to help recoup what they are owed. The Community Justice Clinic student attorneys negotiated a settlement for local restaurant workers to recoup back wages owed them.

In a related effort, student attorneys continue to advocate for New York State to eliminate the tip credit that allows employers to pay a lower minimum wage and disadvantages workers.

News

  • May 8, 2018 - "Labor Department hears arguments in Buffalo for and against end of tip credit system," WBFO.

Student Voice

  • May 10, 2018 - Genevieve Rados '19 "Another Voice: It's time to eliminate the tip credit," The Buffalo News.

Buffalo 25 Campaign

Buffalo 25

In October 2016, immigration agents conducted raids on four Mexican restaurants in Buffalo and arrested 25 workers. CJC took on the representation of four of those workers, all of whom have now received temporary protection from deportation. In June 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor filed suit against the workers’ former employer alleging minimum wage and overtime violations.

News:

  • Jan. 8, 2017 - "How kitchen raids in Buffalo sent shock waves through immigrant rights community," National Public Radio
  • Nov. 11, 2016 - "Owner was target, but restaurant workers are swept up in immigration raids," The New York Times

Resources:

SWEAT Act

Sweat Act

CJC has worked with a statewide coalition of workers’ rights organizations to pass the Securing Wages Earned Against Theft (SWEAT) Act. Wage theft is a pervasive problem for many low-wage workers in New York. But workers who try to recover lost wages are often left empty-handed when employers refuse to pay wage judgments. The SWEAT Act would help ensure that workers get paid what they are owed.

News:

  • Apr. 13, 2017 - "Workers find winning a wage judgment can be an empty victory," The New York Times

Student Voices:

  • May 15, 2017 - Jennifer Blais '17, "Guest Essay: combat wage theft," Rochester Democrat & Chronicle
  • May 2, 2017 - Hassan Mirza '18, "Another Voice: state must pass the SWEAT Law to protect workers from wage theft," The Buffalo News

Resources:

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