Worker Protection

The Economic Justice Unit will protect the rights of workers in Washtenaw County to their hard-earned wages, to safe working conditions, and to speak out about retaliation or other abusive employer practices.

Wage theft

Wage theft is a term for an employer stealing money, labor, time, and opportunities from workers.  

Wage theft is a massive problem. According to one report, Michigan employees lose $429 million a year to minimum wage violations alone. Another way to put this is employers violated the law in order to put more money into their own pockets – almost half a billion dollars in our state. The total value of wage theft in the United States ($15 billion) is more than the total value of all property crimes in the United States ($12.7 billion) – more than every robbery, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft combined.

If you have worked in Washtenaw County and think you may experiencing wage theft, contact us to discuss your situation or fill out our form. 


Misclassification is when a business calls a person an independent contractor – when that person is truly an employee – in order to get out of providing the legally required minimum wage, overtime, taxes, or benefits.

An employer cannot simply call you an independent contractor or send you a 1099 and make it true. Whether someone is an independent contractor or an employee may be a complicated legal question.

The United States Department of Labor has additional resources and a helpful summary of some differences between an independent contractor and an employee:

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If you have worked in Washtenaw County and think you may be misclassified, contact us to discuss your situation or fill out our form.

Dangerous working conditions

Businesses are legally and morally required to provide safe working conditions.  While accidents may occur despite safe working conditions, many job sites are unreasonably dangerous as some businesses may try to shortcut safety to make more profit.  And every year, many people get seriously injured or die in work-related accidents.   

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Agency (MIOSHA) enforces workplace safety rules in Michigan. You can contact MIOSHA to file a complaint. If there is an emergency or the hazard is immediately life threatening, call MIOSHA at 800-866-4674 to report the situation.”

The Economic Justice Unit will seek to support the work of MIOSHA and the rights of workers to safe working conditions through enforcement of the laws