2014 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Gonzalo Serrano

Gonzalo Serrano

Name of Host Organization: Equal Justice Center
City, State: Dallas, Texas
Issue area: Workers' Rights, Immigrant Populations
Sponsors: Texas Access to Justice Foundation

The Project

Gonzalo worked to bring wage recovery and employment justice legal services to low-wage immigrant working men and women in Dallas/Ft Worth, the largest urban area in the nation lacking legal services of this kind.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
State and federal laws give all workers the right to be paid for their labor and to be protected from discrimination and abuse, regardless of their poverty or immigration status. In underserved areas of Texas, like Dallas/Ft Worth, many low-wage immigrant workers are not aware of their wage and employment rights or how they can safely protect those rights. In addition, there is a dearth of employment lawyers in this region with the specialized knowledge, skills, and experience to help low-wage workers enforce their rights. This has created a climate of impunity for predatory employers who believe they can get away with underpaying and exploiting low-wage workers – especially immigrants.
Fellowship Highlights: 
In the past two years, Gonzalo has:
• Represented over 100 clients in litigation and recovered thousands of dollars in unpaid wages. Gonzalo has co-counseled most of his cases with senior attorneys at the Equal Justice Center as well as members of the private bar.
• Successfully prioritized outreach efforts in the Dallas/Ft. Worth community, talking to thousands of persons via presentations and trainings.
• Cemented relationships with other organizations and community leaders to ensure that those in need are helped. Often, this involved educating and training members of other organizations regarding employment matters.
Where are they now?: 
Now that the Fellowship is complete, Gonzalo plans to:
• Continue working for the Equal Justice Center in their Dallas office as a staff attorney as the EJC Dallas office continues to grow.
• Serve more of the workers that he has had the pleasure of serving during the past two years.

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