Representing Immigrant Workers in Civil Litigation - Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Program

November 13, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013
5:30pm - 7:00pm
Sinbad's, 141 The Embarcadero, San Francisco
Join us for drinks following the program!

Sponsored by the National Lawyers Guild Labor & Employment Committee
Cosponsored by Asian Law Caucus

Please join the National Lawyers Guild SF Bay Area Labor & Employment Committee (NLG SF Bay L&EC) on Wednesday, November 13 for an exciting CLE program covering the cutting edge of issues facing lawyers, other legal workers and clients in civil litigation involving immigrant workers. Participants will learn how to avoid and/or minimize negative impacts on plaintiffs lawsuit due to immigration status, whether the plaintiff is documented or not. Our experienced panel of experts will discuss a full range of legal issues that may arise in civil litigation when opposing counsel or a defendant employer try to use immigration status to avoid full responsibility. Topics to be covered include defending immigrant workers at depositions, written discovery, potential defense arguments, the pending Salas v. Sierra Chemical appellate decision now waiting for California Supreme Court review, and how to obtain U Visas for your clients who are victims of qualifying workplace crimes.

Panelists include:
Jennifer Reisch, Legal Director Equal Rights Advocates
Jennifer Reisch is the Legal Director of Equal Rights Advocates (ERA), a national nonprofit legal organization dedicated to protecting and expanding economic and education access and opportunities for women and girls, which seeks to make an impact through litigation, direct services, legislative advocacy, and community education and outreach. Prior to joining ERA, Jennifer was a partner with the San Francisco law firm of Talamantes Villegas Carrera, LLP, where she represented low-wage and immigrant workers in individual and class action suits challenging discrimination, wage and hour violations, and other unlawful employment practices. She has written, edited, and contributed to several articles and litigation manuals on representing undocumented immigrant workers, and was recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star in plaintiff-side employment litigation for four years in a row. From 2009 to 2013, Jennifer also taught a bilingual course on Representing Spanish-Speaking Workers as an Adjunct Professor at U.C. Hastings College of the Law. She is the co-chair of the California Employment Lawyers Association’s Wage and Hour Committee and an active member of the Coalition of Low-Wage Immigrant Worker Advocates (CLIWA) and the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA). Jennifer also serves on the Diversity Committee of the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association and on the Advisory Board of the East Bay Community Law Center. She is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley (Boalt Hall) School of Law Yale University.

Eunice Cho, Staff Attorney – Immigrant Worker Justice Project National Employment Law Project Debra Smith, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Eunice Hyunhye Cho is a Staff Attorney with the National Employment Law Project's Immigrant Worker Justice Project, where she began working as a Skadden Fellow. Before becoming a lawyer, she was the Education Director at the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, where she worked closely with immigrant community groups and co-authored BRIDGE: Building a Race and Immigration Dialogue in the Global Economy, an award-winning popular education curriculum for community organizers. She is a graduate of Stanford Law School, and served as a law clerk to Hon. Kim McLane Wardlaw on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ramsey Hanafi, Attorney at Sommers Employment Law Group
Ramsey Hanafi is an attorney with Sommers Employment Law Group, a Plaintiffs’ side employment litigation firm. He represents employees in both individual and class action cases in state and federal court. He also represents workers in matters pending with the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement. Mr. Hanafi was selected as a “Rising Star” for 2013 by Super Lawyers magazine.

Debra Smith, Senior Trial Attorney, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Debra began her legal career with Texas Rural Legal Aid, Migrant Farmworker Division, where for 10 years she represented seasonal and migrant farmworkers in individual and class actions against corporate agribusinesses under the FLCRA, AWPA, FLSA, Wagner-Peyser Act, Title VII and other protective labor statutes in federal and state courts throughout the Southwest. She came to California in 1989 and litigated Title VII class actions on behalf of plaintiffs with Saperstein, Goldstein, Demchek and Baller until 2001 when she joined Equal Rights Advocates. There she continued representing women in sex discrimination and sex harassment cases under Title VII, including the now-infamous but then national class action, Dukes v. Wal-Mart, and other corporate entities, including Thunder Valley Casino; as well as litigating on behalf of individual tradeswomen, low-wage retail workers and mono-lingual immigrant and farmworker women. She joined the EEOC in 2009 where she has represented farmworkers in Santa Rosa and the Central Valley in Californa and Yakima, Washington. One of her cases, EEOC v. Evans Fruit, was featured in the recent documentary “Rape in the Fields.”

Moderator: Michael Thomas, Attorney at Bryan Schwartz Law
Michael Thomas is an attorney in Oakland California, with over 13 years of individual and class action litigation experience working primarily on cases involving both state and federal wage and hour violations, retaliation and race, gender, sexual orientation and disability discrimination. Mr. Thomas also has experience working with unions, collective bargaining agreements and litigating claims before the National Labor Relations Board. Mr. Thomas has successfully litigated individual and class action complaints nationwide, helping to recover millions of dollars for thousands of employees and unions, and forcing corporations, municipalities and government agencies to change their policies and practices.
Mr. Thomas has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from Bucknell University. Mr. Thomas obtained his Juris Doctorate from Boston College School of Law. Mr. Thomas served as Editor-in-Chief of the Boston College Third World Law Journal. Finally, Mr. Thomas has a Masters of Business Administration from the Walter A. Haas School of Business at Berkeley where he focused on Corporate Social Responsibility. Mr. Thomas was a Haas Community Fellow Award Recipient for Outstanding Volunteer Service.
Mr. Thomas is an active member of the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association (“SFTLA”). He is a member of SFTLA’s Education Committee and Diversity Committee. Mr. Thomas is also on the at large Board of Directors of the Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild and is on the Labor and Employment Committee and Meditation Committee. Mr. Thomas has also taught Moot Court and Legal Research and Writing as an Adjunct Instructor at Hastings College of Law. Outside of the practice of law, Mr. Thomas is in the process of obtaining his yoga teacher certification from the Niroga Institute in Berkeley. Niroga is a yoga studio and 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides yoga, mindfulness and meditation to everyone but with a specific focus on vulnerable youth, cancer survivors, seniors and people battling addiction.

1 Hour CLE Credit $25 - members of NLG and cosponsoring organizations, $35 for non-members
For more information, visit nlgsf.org/events