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Sesilia Valdez Diaz

2017, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Sesilia Valdez Diaz

Sesilia Valdez Diaz

Name of Host Organization: LatinoJustice PRLDEF
City, State: Orlando, Florida
Issue area: Immigrant Populations
Sponsors: The Florida Bar Foundation

The Project

Sesilia will provide legal advocacy and representation for low-wage Latina workers in the hospitality industry experiencing wage theft, discrimination, harassment and other employment issues in Central Florida. 

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
The hospitality industry in Orlando, Florida is extensive and is a substantial employer, especially for Latina workers. Their discrimination and inequity in employment may stem from an intersectional framework of race, gender, socioeconomic status, and at times, document status. Factors attributing to the vulnerability of Latina workers in employment may include language barriers, lack of knowledge of rights, misperceptions of the rights of undocumented workers and lack of access to legal resources. Latina workers may experience wage theft, discrimination, harassment, and other employment issues. The project will provide legal advocacy by pressing for enforcement of wage theft complaints to the Office of Attorney General and by direct legal representation by filing of FLSA and other employment claims in court.
The Right Person For This Project

Sesilia is the right person for the project because: 

  • She has a personal connection to the Latin community and knows of the employment issues faced by Latina workers allowing her to effectively serve the community
  • She is passionate about advocating for the rights of women and will provide legal advocacy to Latina workers in order to safeguard them from the employment issues they may face 
Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship

In the first six months, Sesilia will:

  • Build a network of contacts within the Orlando community and spread awareness of the project
  • Develop bilingual curriculums and guides to utilize in “Know Your Rights” presentations
  • Conduct mobile bi-monthly outreach clinics
  • Begin direct representation with clients