Ms. Center has been with the LAS-ELC since 1995. She litigates cases on behalf of workers with disabilities, and is actively engaged in appellate, legislative, and amicus efforts to advance and protect the rights of persons with disabilities. In Fall 2001, she argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in US Airways, Inc. v. Barnett, a case that clarified the broad scope of “reasonable accommodations” for disabled employees. In 1999 and 2000, she played a key role in the passage of comprehensive amendments to California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act that broadened protections for persons with disabilities. In 1997, Ms. Center established the Libra Project, an initiative to advance the employment rights of persons with mental health disabilities. In 2009, she received the Paul G. Hearne Award for Disability Rights, presented annually by the ABA Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law. Prior to coming to the LAS-ELC, Ms. Center received the Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship to work as an attorney at the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) in Washington, D.C. She received her J.D. from the U.C. Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law in 1992, and her B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1987.
The Legal Aid Society–Employment Law Center promotes the stability of low-income and disadvantaged workers and their families by addressing issues that affect their ability to achieve self-sufficiency. Using the law as a tool, the LAS–ELC helps workers attain financial security by preserving their employment opportunities. We believe that stable working conditions and adequate income strengthen families and build communities. By protecting the employment status of wage earners, we provide families the means to pull through adverse times, avoid the downward spiral caused by job loss, and be fully contributing members of society.