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First Shift Justice Project Serves as Advocates for Parents

The DC Bar Foundation is proud to fund legal services organizations in DC that help residents during times of crisis. First Shift Justice Project—a DC Bar Foundation grantee partner—empowers workers in low-wage jobs to exercise their rights related to caregiving and parenting. 


In this story, we highlight the work that First Shift does to protect workers and empower them to take care of themselves in difficult employment situations.


Monica (pseudonym), a front desk security guard, was pregnant and had complications that required her to take 12 doctor-recommended weeks of leave during her pregnancy. After applying for leave, she received a letter stating she was not eligible because her employer listed her as a part-time employee. Although Monica did start in her position part-time, at the time of her application, she worked full-time hours, which should have rendered her eligible for family medical leave. She then went to human resources, who offered her 30 days of leave instead of the 12 requested weeks. 

Since she did not receive the requested leave to protect her pregnancy, as an alternative, Monica requested on-the-job accommodations that would allow her to sit more frequently during her shifts. Her supervisor ignored the request and began asking the client to do more strenuous work. She provided a doctor's note explaining the accommodation that she needed and indicating that she should not be required to stand or walk for extended periods of time. After that, she was written up for "not conducting job duties" and told to take unpaid leave. She continued to work and was then written up three more times, resulting in a suspension and reduced hours upon her return to work. 

Monica was referred to First Shift by her medical provider, and she is currently working with a First Shift staff attorney who represented her in mediation and is continuing to represent her through an Office of Human Rights investigation.


With attorney representation, Monica is better positioned to advocate for her rights with her employer


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