2014 Advocacy Examples
These are a few examples of the successes achieved for our clients.
- A farm labor contractor recruited and provided transportation for a crew of workers to work detasseling/rogueing in fields in Southwest Michigan. At the end of the work season, the crew was abandoned at the hotel where they had been housed for the past 3 weeks during their employment. The crew believed they had been shorted money and needed assistance in order to return to their permanent residences in Georgia and Florida. FLS outreach staff visited the clients and we filed a complaint for some of the workers with the U.S. Department of Labor. Based on our complaint to DOL, DOL determined that each client was owed about $800. Based on this determination, the employer paid clients these back wages.
- After a factual investigation, we prepared and filed a state wage claim for unpaid wages for a client with the Michigan Wage & Hour Division and advocated on behalf of the client throughout the state's investigation of the wage claim. The state issued a final determination that the employer owed client his claimed unpaid wages. LARA confirmed that the employer issued client payment of his unpaid wages soon after LARA's final Determination.
- A client's children received medical service in June and July, but the client's June Medicaid application was denied, so the client was being billed. The Client filed a second application for Medicaid in August. Through informal advocacy with the Michigan Department of Human Services, we updated her income information and her August Medicaid application was approved in October. Through a pre-hearing conference regarding client's June application for Medicaid, DHS agreed to approve Medicaid for the children retroactive to June. The client confirmed that the health clinic was no longer billing her for the $500 in services her kids received in June and July.
- The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency issued Determinations finding that the client quit a job, which meant that he was ineligible to receive benefits that he had already received. The Agency determined that he must re-pay $15,000 in benefits that he had received, and that he must pay an additional amount of restitution of $60,000 as a fraud penalty. Client contacted us soon after he had protested on his own. We supplemented his protest with additional information about the lay-off. After not receiving a decision for several months, we did an internal inquiry with the Agency. After our inquiry, the Agency issued a Redetermination finding that “it has not been established that you quit your job” and that he was not disqualified. The Agency reversed its initial findings, which meant that client avoided the debt of $75,000.
- A client called at the end of the season regarding issues at a migrant camp. Client wanted inspectors to visit the camp and ensure improvements for the following year. FLS outreach staff visited the camp and filed a complaint on client's behalf with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The remaining workers had already left the camp, but MDARD found violations and required the employer to correct them prior to the next season.
- We assisted a family of farmworkers with applications for U Visas. A minor child was the victim of criminal sexual activity that began several years ago and was committed by a family acquaintance. The family assisted law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of the crimes, and the perpetrator was convicted of Criminal Sexual Conduct - 2nd degree. We assisted the parents and three children in completing and submitting applications for U nonimmigrant status. USCIS approved each petition and each family member now has employment authorization for 4 years. They can each apply for Legal Permanent Resident status after 3 years.