Enforcement Project

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Retail Jobs Are Treated As A Temporary Bridge To Something Better. But Why?

September 27, 2021

Alina Selyukh
NPR News

For a long time, for a lot of people, jobs in retail were a career. Now, though, those jobs are largely seen as temporary. What exactly happened?

Nobody is in retail because they really want to be (laughter). It's a bridge to another place. And it would be really nice if we could make that environment so that that's not necessarily the case because some people don't have that choice.

SELYUKH: The corporate pitch for free college tuition is to help workers grow within the company. But it can also be seen as an acknowledgement that...

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A Growing Trend: Treating Wage Theft As A Criminal Offense

September 23, 2021

By Daniela Porat
Law 360

The need for criminal prosecution of wage theft and other employment law violations has become all the more imperative, said Terri Gerstein, the director of the State and Local Enforcement Project at the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program.

"I think that the situation of working people in our country has become dire," she said. "One of the benefits of criminal prosecution is it just sort of changes the calculus … there's a whole other set of consequences other than just, 'OK, I'm going to pay...

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Comment: Unions not against vax mandate; they just want a say

Comment: Unions not against vax mandate; they just want a say

September 16, 2021

Terri Gerstein
Washington Post

Most unions have strongly supported vaccination efforts, often including mandates. But they also want a place at the table in relation to implementation.

“Labor unions are a microcosm of the society we live in,” Patricia Campos-Medina, executive director of Cornell University’s Worker Institute, told Yahoo News. “The same political divide we have right now exists within the rank and file of unions.” Unions represent and give voice to their members — of course they want ...

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Other People’s Rotten Jobs Are Bad for Them. And for You.

Other People’s Rotten Jobs Are Bad for Them. And for You.

September 6, 2021

Terri Gerstein
Opinoin
NY Times

I enforced workplace laws in New York State for the better part of two decades, and this case stands out to me, because it so clearly exemplifies why all of us should care about workers’ rights. When people have bad working conditions and no voice on the job, it’s obviously bad for them. But the impact of rotten jobs — those with low pay, long hours, bad treatment, or no worker voice — radiates far beyond the workers themselves. Other people’s rotten jobs affect our collective health, safety and well-being.

We should care about...

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REINVENTING THE WORKWEEK

August 30, 2021

by Meira Gebel
Dame Magazine

For many American workers, the traditional eight-hour-plus days, five days a week is no longer tolerable. Can we reimagine the status quo?

“People want the ability to make a living, have work-life balance, and be able to care for their families,” said Gerstein, who is also the director of the project on state and local enforcement at the Harvard Law School labor and worklife program. “This includes a predictable schedule with sufficient pay, and where one job should be enough.” 

“I think it’s...

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How Joe Biden's order on noncompetes could make it easier to quit your job

July 27, 2021

BY IRINA IVANOVA
CBS News

The president's July 9 executive order takes aim at an increasingly common and oft-criticized feature of the labor market: noncompete agreements. Under these restrictive agreements, which cover an estimated one-fifth to one-half of private-sector workers, employees give up future work in their industry as a condition of keeping their current job. 

Terri Gerstein, director of the state and local enforcement program at the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program, noted there were other legal ways, including...

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There’s a Way to Get More People Vaccinated—and It Doesn’t Involve the Lottery

There’s a Way to Get More People Vaccinated—and It Doesn’t Involve the Lottery

July 1, 2021

By Terri Gerstein and Lorelei Salas
The Nation

In light of the widespread jobsite transmission of the virus, and Covid-19’s devastating impact on working people, we should also do everything possible to eliminate obstacles for essential workers. Fortunately, there are two non-flashy but surefire approaches to boost rates among the many workers who want the vaccine but haven’t had it: first, pass paid sick leave laws covering the shot as well as side effects; and second, turn to unions, worker organizations, and others that are already known to and trusted by workers and their communities. 

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Kim Kardashian is being sued for employment practices that are sadly common

May 26, 2021

Terri Gerstein
NBC News THINK 

In the latest celebrity labor scandal, reality TV star Kim Kardashian West was sued in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday by seven workers accusing her of wage theft, retaliation and more. They literally worked on the grounds of her home. Kardashian West’s response to these allegations? “These workers were hired and paid through a third-party vendor,” her spokesperson said. “Kim is not party to the agreement made between the vendor and their workers, therefore she is not responsible for how the vendor manages their business...

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Wall Street’s Grip on Secret Harassment Hearings Starts to Crack

May 12, 2021

Max Reyes
Bloomberg

But their path to ending forced arbitration on Wall Street is seen as long and arduous. Much of the finance industry, including Goldman, remains committed to settling disputes behind closed doors, and change is unlikely to pass easily through a divided Congress.

“It still helps to build momentum and build a shared understanding that this practice of forced arbitration is not right,” Terri Gerstein, director of the State and Local Enforcement Project at Harvard Law School, said in an interview. “It’s not fair, and it’s not good...

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Big Law Builds Up State AG Expertise Amid Enforcement Boost

May 12, 2021

Ellen M. Gilmer
Bloomberg Law

Top law firms are building out practice groups focused on state attorneys general, whose aggressive moves on everything from workers’ rights to Big Tech have clients looking for lawyers with a deep understanding of the process.

Harvard Law School’s State and Local Enforcement Project director Terri Gerstein, former head of the Labor Bureau in the New York attorney general’s office, cautioned private practice lawyers against relying too heavily on relationships formed during their past work in state offices.