DEAR SUPPORTERS OF THE D.C. EMPLOYMENT JUSTICE CENTER,

The last year has been an extremely busy one at the EJC. In 2016, we were able to return more than $350,000 into the pockets of workers whose wages had been illegally stolen from them. Our Workers’ Rights Clinics handled more than a thousand matters during the year, and our staff and volunteers conducted know your rights trainings to hundreds more. We secured important advocacy victories with our allies in the Just Pay Coalition in expanding protections for workers who are victims of wage theft. And with the passage of Paid Family Leave, another important protection for low-income workers has become law.

But sustaining a small legal and advocacy organization that fights for low-income workers is challenging, despite the consistent support from our many friends and donors. Although our staff and volunteers continue to do extraordinary work, the EJC has long sought a way to expand the scope of our work and to become even more effective in the face of unrelenting political, social and legal challenges. In these difficult times, we think it is important that organizations serving working people re-examine their approach and take all necessary steps to do it better.

For these reasons, I am thrilled to announce that the EJC is partnering with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs (WLC). We are in the final stages of completing a merger of the two organizations. For those who don’t know the WLC, its mission for nearly fifty years has worked to address issues civil rights violations, fight poverty and pursue economic justice. The WLC has been a leader in fighting discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations; in challenging wage theft; in defending the rights of prisoners, immigrants and people with disabilities; and in seeking improvements in public education. Together, we will bring even greater resources to the missions of both the EJC and the WLC.

Combining the EJC’s long history of client-centered legal services and advocacy with the litigation capacity of the WLC will provide enormous benefits to our clients and to the larger D.C. metropolitan community. This partnership of our two organizations will also help to insure that the work of the EJC will continue for years to come.

The current staff of the EJC – LaToya Bell (Legal Director), Heather Kryzak (Clinic Coordinator), Perry Redd (Workers’ Advocate) and Philip Fornaci (Executive Director) have joined the staff at the WLC. The EJC’s Workers’ Rights Clinics will continue uninterrupted, on the same days and at the same locations as before.

Philip Fornaci
Executive Director

Questions You May Have About This Partnership

1. Will the EJC’s Workers’ Rights Clinics continue?
Yes, The EJC’s Workers’ Rights Clinics will continue uninterrupted, on the same days and at the same locations as before:

  • Every Wednesday evening from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Bread for the City, 1525 Seventh Street, N.W.
  • The first and third Friday afternoon of every month, from noon to 3:00 p.m. at the Neighborhood Legal Services Program office at 2811 Pennsylvania Avenue, S.E.
  • The last Saturday of every month at Bread for the City’s Southeast D.C. location, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1640 Good Hope Road, S.E.

2. Will Workers’ Rights Clinic services still be free?
Yes.

3. Will the EJC’s advocacy work continue?
Yes, the EJC’s advocacy work will continue and even expand at the WLC. Both the WLC and the EJC are members of the Just Pay Coalition, and will remain active in the Coalition’s work. Our immediate focus will be on enforcement of laws against wage theft and opposing employment and housing discrimination based on criminal records. The WLC’s advocacy in these areas will be informed by our work with Workers’ Rights Clinic clients and by other community engagement.

4. Will the partnership change EJC’s priorities away from its mission to secure, protect and promote workplace justice?
No. The WLC is committed to the same goal of workplace justice. The partnership will in fact deepen the new organization’s commitment by bringing together the EJC’s strong community base with the WLC staff’s deep expertise in impact litigation in areas beyond employment law. The WLC has for years worked to eliminate workplace discrimination but also addresses discrimination in housing and public accommodations, prisoners’ rights and immigrant rights.

5. How will low-wage workers who need employment services be able to contact the WLC?
WLC can be contacted by phone at 202-319-1000, or by email at wlc@washlaw.org. Ask for help with an employment matter and you will be directed to the appropriate person at the WLC. You can also call the old EJC number – 202-828-9675.

6. Where is the WLC office?
The WLC is located at 11 Dupont Circle, N.W., Suite 400, but it is best if you call first if you need to get legal help.

7. How can I support this new organization?
You can help in different ways.

  • If you want to volunteer as an intake volunteer, as a volunteer attorney advisor, or in the WLC’s advocacy work, contact Kiva Zytnick at 202-319-1000 x117 or kiva_zytnick@washlaw.org.
  • You can help us financially by making a contribution to the WLC on their online giving webpage, or by sending a check made payable to “Washington Lawyers’ Committee” to:

The Washington Lawyers’ Committee
11 Dupont Circle, NW
Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036

Please contact Gregg Kelley, Director of Development & Communications, at 202-319-1000 x155 or gregg_kelley@washlaw.org if you have any questions about supporting the continuing work of the EJC.