Daniel (Duchoang) Pham

  • Hosted by Equal Justice Center
  • Sponsored by Texas Access to Justice Foundation
  • Service location Houston, Texas
  • Law school Duke University School of Law
  • Issue area Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2019
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Duchoang helped to build the first legal aid office in Houston specializing in employment law assistance for low-wage working men and women regardless of their immigration status.

Houston is the nation’s fourth-largest city, and by some measures, it’s most diverse. Employment exploitation is widespread in Houston and the surrounding region, in large part because low-income working people have little access to the justice system and to legal representation that would give them full power to enforce their employment rights. The Equal Justice Center – Houston became the first law office specifically focused on enforcing the basic employment rights of low-wage workers in the Houston area. This project made significant strides towards access to justice for those working people whose immigration status makes them ineligible for federally-funded legal assistance and for those who may be citizens or authorized immigrants but are afraid to assert their basic employment rights because they have family members who are undocumented and hence vulnerable.

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship, Duchoang:

  • Engaged in direct representation of low-wage workers in a variety of labor and employment claims, including minimum wage and overtime violations, employment discrimination, and labor trafficking
  • Arrived at favorable settlement for clients in multiple employment cases, including three involving unpaid wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), two involving labor trafficking, one involving pregnancy discrimination, and one involving retaliation for taking medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Collaborated with community-based partner El Pueblo Primero in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing general legal information and assistance for its COVID-19 hotline, issuing joint statements, and providing legal advice regarding the COVID-19 employment situation of its members
  • Developed Vietnamese-language outreach materials for the Equal Justice Center and Vietnamese- language COVID-19 Employment Rights Fact Sheets for distribution through network of Texas-based workers’ and immigrants’ rights advocates

Next Steps

Duchoang will remain with the Equal Justice Center as a staff attorney, where he will continue representing low-wage workers and working towards increasing the organization’s impact in the Houston area.

Media

Workers Continue to Battle University of Houston Over Wage Theft Claims

Undocumented Workers Lose Millions to Wage-Theft and it's Getting Worse During the Pandemic

As the child of two refugees, I want to help those who—like my parents four decades ago—have come to our country looking for a new home.

Daniel Pham /
Equal Justice Works Fellow

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