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Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs: Securing Employment Justice

The DC Bar Foundation is proud to fund legal services organizations in DC that help residents during times of crisis. The Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs is one of those organizations. They work to create legal, economic, and social equity through litigation, client and public education, and public policy advocacy. The Washington Lawyers' Committee's mission is to create an equitable society in which the legacy of discrimination has been overcome, and there is an equitable application of law and access to justice. They have shared with us some ways they have been able to help DC residents with their employment issues, with positive results. These brief yet vital stories highlight the power and impact of their work.

Discrimination Ms. Y faced discrimination, retaliation, and unpaid wages at her retail job when she came to the Workers' Rights Clinic for advice in early March 2021. The Workers' Rights Clinic volunteers advised her on filing a complaint with the DC Office of Human Rights, the statute of limitations on her claims, and provided her with the complaint form along with instructions on how to fill it out. With the Clinic's advice, Ms. Y successfully submitted her discrimination claim, which has now been accepted for investigation. According to the Clinic's advice, Ms. Y is currently submitting her wage claim to the DC Office of Wage and Hour.

Wages When a DC restaurant terminated Mr. Z, they failed to pay him more than $1,000 in overtime wages owed to him. In May 2022, Mr. Z came to the Workers' Rights Clinic, where our volunteers reviewed his documentation, including pay stubs, calculated his unpaid wages, and drafted a demand letter to ensure he received the wages he deserved. The demand letter was a success. Mr. Z's former employer finally paid him the overtime wages they owed and offered to reinstate him. Although Mr. Z did not wish to return to the restaurant after what he had experienced, he was happy to have received the wages owed to him.

Wages The Clinic assisted a DC construction worker in successfully suing his employer for unpaid wages. Mr. X came to the Workers' Rights Clinic in January 2020 seeking assistance in recovering unpaid wages from his employer, a DC construction company. Mr. X had been assaulted on the job and was unable to work because of his injuries. In response, his employer fired him without paying Mr. X tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages, stating that because he did not have immigration status, he could not "come after us."

The Clinic drafted a demand letter for Mr. X to send to his employer. After receiving no response, Mr. X returned to Clinic. Throughout multiple consultations, the Clinic assisted him in drafting and filing a pro se complaint in DC Superior Court. The Clinic provided Mr. X with advice as his case progressed. This year, the Court issued a default judgment for Mr. X for $35,470 in unpaid wages. The Clinic has provided Mr. X with a referral to a collections attorney.

To learn more about the Washington Lawyers' Committee, visit their website.

Your client stories are important, and we encourage you to share them with the Foundation on an ongoing basis. If you have one that you would like to share with us, email us at

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