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Headshot of Elizabeth Machado

Elizabeth Machado

  • Hosted by Bet Tzedek Legal Services
  • Sponsored by Alston & Bird, U.S. Bank
  • Service location Los Angeles, California
  • Law school Loyola Marymount University Loyola Law School
  • Issue area Immigrant Populations, Workers' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2023
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Elizabeth combats employment discrimination among undocumented and low-wage workers in Los Angeles through direct legal services, community outreach and education, and policy advocacy.

Los Angeles’ low wage industries—including the car wash, garment, restaurant, day labor, and domestic worker industries—are notorious for wage theft, discrimination, and retaliation. Employers are increasingly retaliating against undocumented workers for asserting their employment rights and advocating for better working conditions. In some instances, they may even threaten to report workers to ICE. Fearful of legal repercussions, undocumented workers may be reluctant to report employment violations and to cooperate with workplace investigations. This enables unscrupulous employers to gain unfair competitive advantages over law-abiding employers.

Elizabeth’s prior work with Bet Tzedek Legal Services addressing wage theft and discrimination among low wage workers left a lasting impression on her. Having grown up in an immigrant household and in a largely low income minority neighborhood, advocating on behalf of low wage and immigrant workers felt meaningful.

Fellowship Plans

During her Fellowship, Elizabeth will build on Bet Tzedek Legal Services’ existing partnerships with community-based organizations and worker centers. She will hold regular discrimination clinics and provide advice, counsel, and direct representation to workers in the areas of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. She will also hold Know-Your-Rights trainings to educate workers about what to do when an employer discriminates against them. Additionally, in collaboration with Bet Tzedek Legal Services and community partners, Elizabeth will develop policy proposals to expand protections and enforcement against discrimination.

As the daughter of Mexican immigrants and granddaughter of a Bracero farmworker, I came to admire the hard work and resiliency of immigrant workers and I learned to fiercely protect what workers rightfully earned through their labor—including respect.

Elizabeth Machado /
2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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