Photo of Laura Huizar

Laura Huizar

  • Hosted by LatinoJustice PRLDEF
  • Sponsored by Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school Yale Law School
  • Issue area Employment, Immigrant Populations, Workers' Rights
  • Fellowship class year 2012
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Laura used direct representation, impact litigation, legislative and policy advocacy, community organizing, and education to combat predatory practices of employment agencies that exploit workers in low-wage industries, particularly immigrant workers, in the New York City metropolitan area.

New immigrants frequently rely on employment agencies to help them find work. In 2012, New York City had about 350 employment agencies, but advocates estimated that more than 1,000 agencies existed at the time, primarily located in communities with large immigrant populations. Unscrupulous agencies substantially control access to low-wage jobs, which enables them to charge exorbitant fees to job seekers and defraud workers. Agencies also knowingly place workers with employers that violate labor laws, engage in wage theft, and blacklist workers who complain.

Fellowship Highlights

During her Fellowship, Laura provided advice, referrals, or representation to 65 workers as well as know-your-rights presentations to nearly 600 individuals. She also served as counsel to New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) on employment agency issues and supported NICE in launching the Justice for Job Seekers campaign, a statewide coalition of about 30 New York workers’ rights organizations. The campaign advocated for state legislation to improve employment agency laws that were adopted in 2017.

Next Steps

After her Equal Justice Works Fellowship, Laura worked as a Marvin M. Karpatkin Fellow with the Racial Justice Program at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In 2015, she joined the National Employment Law Project (NELP) where she is now the Immigrant Worker Justice Program Director.

Laura joined NELP in 2015 and is currently NELP’s Immigrant Worker Justice Program Director. Previously, Laura supported NELP’s efforts to create a good jobs economy by providing legal and technical assistance to local, state, and national campaigns to raise the minimum wage and enforce labor standards. Her work has included supporting campaigns to defend local policies from state preemption, expanding local authority to adopt pro-worker policies, and contributing to research on the abuse of state preemption. In her previous role as Legal Director of the Local Solutions Support Center’s Joint Project with NELP, Laura oversaw LSSC’s legal work focused on deploying proactive legal strategies to help communities resist and reverse state preemption laws.

Laura’s background includes a variety of social and economic justice-related work, including an Equal Justice Works Fellowship at LatinoJustice PRLDEF, where she represented immigrant workers in litigation and assisted community groups seeking policy change. As a Marvin M. Karpatkin Fellow with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program, Laura supported litigation and conducted legal research related to debtors’ prisons, the school-to-prison pipeline, and other major sources of racial injustice in the U.S. Before attending law school, Laura worked for JUNTA for Progressive Action in New Haven, Connecticut, focusing on local economic development and immigrant worker advocacy.

Media

Two New York legislators are backing legislation to stop low wage workers from being preyed upon

Labor sharks sink teeth into low-wage immigrant workers

A State Inquiry Is Said to Target Job Agencies

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