Atlanta, GA, (Mar. 7, 2018) – The Latin American Association (LAA), the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, nonprofits and local and state agencies officially signed the EMPLEO (Employment Education and Outreach) alliance yesterday at the LAA’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

Officially launched in 2004, the EMPLEO program represents an alliance of community and nongovernmental organizations along with state, local and federal agencies, and the Central American and Mexican consulates that will provide free information and assistance to Spanish-speaking workers and employers regarding their workplace rights, responsibilities and employment related issues in the U.S.

As part of the DOL’s welcoming remarks, Director of Public Relations Priscilla García-Ocampo thanked attendees “for believing in the program, for continuing to work for low-wage workers and for making [EMPLEO] happen.” The DOL’s OSHA (Occupational Health and Housing Administration) division VPP Manager Américo Pagán expressed that the “cooperative approach of EMPLEO will help reduce instances of callers being passed from once agency to another.” He went on to say that “it is OSHA’s mission to assure the safe and helpful working conditions for working men and women by providing training, education and assistance to both workers and employers. This alliance will help us accomplish that mission.” The LAA’s Executive Director Aníbal Torres further reinforced the association’s commitment to “promote this initiative as part of our mission to make sure that all Latinos in Georgia adapt and thrive in our community.”

Since its inception, the program has served immigrant workers and employers in Southern California, Washington, Nevada, Oregon and Idaho, and its 1-877-552-9832 toll-free assistance hotline has been instrumental in helping approximately 11,000 workers recover more than $16 million in back wages.

EMPLEO can reduce the risk of immigrants not receiving appropriate assistance to address issues like overtime pay, receipt of last pay check, minimum wage, discrimination, meals/breaks, safety/hazardous materials and equipment and family medical leave for example. Suleika Rivera Melendez, a worker assisted by the DOL, gave her testimonial of the successful results she achieved once she connected with EMPLEO program representatives while attending a job fair at the LAA, “I’m delighted that this service is available and now even more accessible than ever in our language. The Latino community is a necessary and essential part of this state and nation, and I’m thankful that this and other services continue for the benefit of our community.”

About the LAA
Founded in 1972, the Latin American Association (LAA) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization serving the Latino community in metro Atlanta and surrounding areas throughout Georgia. The mission of the LAA is to empower Latinos to adapt, integrate and thrive. Our vision is ‘Opportunity for All’. Core programs and direct services offered include family services, youth programs, workforce development and employment services, immigration legal services and advocacy. The LAA is one of only two nonprofit legal services providers in Georgia serving the Latino community.