Photo of Joe Philipson

Joe Philipson

  • Hosted by Bet Tzedek Legal Services
  • Sponsored by Fish & Richardson P.C., Microsoft Corporation
  • Service location Los Angeles, California
  • Law school University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
  • Issue area Economic Justice, Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2022
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Joe (he/him/his) works to expand access to legal education, direct representation, and policy advocacy for working parents who face wage theft and other unlawful conditions in the workplace.

Immigrant parents and caregivers who work in low-wage industries in Los Angeles experience the highest employment violation rates in the country. Working parents and caregivers can use legal education and representation to combat their exploitation and ensure economic security for their children. A lack of representation dramatically increases the risk that parents will be fired for objecting to illegal workplace conditions. Further, undocumented parents cannot access social safety net programs and face fear of immigration-related retaliation that can cause family separation. The resulting systemic wage-theft and employment instability increases the negative academic, behavioral, and social outcomes for children of working parents.

Fellowship Plans

During his Fellowship, Joe will establish a new partnership between Bet Tzedek Legal Services’ Employment Rights Project and Community Coalition (CoCo), a leading community organizing hub in South Central Los Angeles that offers youth and family enrichment programs. Joe will create a custom-tailored employment rights outreach, education, clinical, and direct representation program for parents and caregivers of children enrolled in CoCo’s youth programs. Joe will use the successes of the project to support community-driven policy advocacy efforts and develop a guide that other legal services providers and youth programs can use to broaden access to employment rights legal services for working parents.

Lawyering for community empowerment demands a practice without walls. As the great-grandchild of immigrants who sweated in garment factories to provide for their children, I am committed to meeting immigrant parents and caregivers wherever and whenever they need so we can work together toward economic security—now and for generations to come.

Joe Philipson /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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