Staff Spotlight: Heather Kryzak

Over the past decade, Heather Kryzak has traveled from Washington, DC to Quito, Ecuador, and back—all the while serving communities in need. When she was a student at American University in DC, she worked as a legal department intern with the Central American Resource Center, assisting attorneys in providing low and no-cost legal services to the immigrant community. She also saw first-hand the struggles of immigrant restaurant workers in her job as a waitress. “I realized that the way you are treated at work impacts every area of your life” recalled Heather. “Long hours and unpredictable schedules make it hard to care for a family; low wages and late payments can lead to eviction.”

After college, Heather lived in Ecuador for three years, where she led education, health, and livelihoods programs in an underserved community outside of Quito. When she returned to DC, she wanted to continue working in a volunteer management and mentorship capacity while also providing direct legal services to the immigrant community. She found a perfect fit as the Workers’ Rights Clinic Coordinator.

As part of our merger this month with the DC Employment Justice Center, Heather joined the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, along with Phil Fornaci, LaToya Bell, and Perry Redd. We are incredibly lucky to have them as part of the WLC team.

Seven times a month, Heather runs the Workers’ Rights Clinic. At Clinic, low-income workers walk in without an appointment and have one-on-one consultations with trained volunteers. All types of employment issues are handled at Clinic: unpaid wages, unpaid overtime, family and medical leave act (FMLA) violations, unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, unlawful discrimination and harassment, and wrongful termination. Volunteers, supervised by experienced employment law attorneys, advise workers of their rights on the job, provide legal advice, assist with writing letters to employers, help file complaints with the appropriate agency, or coach the worker on the next steps to be taken in litigation.

When she’s not at Clinic or in the office, you can find Heather in the classroom, where she is pursuing her law degree part-time. In two years she will graduate from UDC David A. Clarke School of Law even better prepared to serve the immigrant and low-wage worker community. Watch out, world!

For information about volunteering at Clinic, contact Heather at [email protected].


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