Researcher and Google Activist
Meredith Whittaker is a Research Professor at New York University, the Co-founder of NYU’s AI Now Institute, and the founder of Google’s Open Research group.
She was also a leader in labor organizing efforts, including the Google Walkout and other mobilizations, while employed at Google
Her organizing drew from her research, recognizing that a powerful multinational tech corporation was unlikely to make ethical and just decisions without the force of worker power compelling it.
Levy Ratner represented Meredith in a retaliation charge before the National Labor Relations Board.
She has since moved on from Google, but she continues to promote tech worker organizing through her research and advocacy.
Our firm stands with Meredith in fighting for the rights of tech workers to speak out and hold their employers accountable.
Fight for $15
In our role representing the Fast Food Workers Committee, Levy Ratner attorneys helped structure successful workplace actions and demonstrations in New York City that formed a foundation for the national living‑wage movement known as Fight for $15. Micah Wissinger was one of the architects of landmark litigation before the National Labor Relations Board involving McDonald’s Corporation and served as the primary attorney representing the union. The breadth and scope of the case were unprecedented, resulting in a multi‑year hearing before an Administrative Judge to determine whether McDonald’s was liable for its franchisees’ workplace violations, including retaliation for attempts to unionize.
Levy Ratner Champions the Rights of Low‑Wage Workers in Alabama Wage Law Litigation
This case began in 2015 when the Alabama state legislature passed a bill to block the Birmingham City Council’s attempt to raise the minimum wage in Birmingham to $10.10. The wage increase would have made Birmingham the first city in the South to raise its minimum wage.
The legislature’s decision to block the wage increase, enacted the day following its effective date, was met with public protests by local low‑wage workers and supporters of the Birmingham ordinance.
Levy Ratner, along with co-counsel, represented the plaintiffs, who argued that Alabama’s legislation that nullified a raise for 40,000 workers was tainted “with racial animus” and violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Plaintiffs alleged that black wage workers in Birmingham make, on average, $1.41 less per hour than white wage workers, and $2.12 less per hour statewide. Therefore, the Alabama law fell more heavily upon black workers than white. A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit found that the trial judge had erred in dismissing the complaint but the full Court of Appeals concluded that the Plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the law.
Black and Latino Electricians Fight Racial Discrimination by the City of New York….And Win a Settlement
Restaurant Workers Awarded $400k in Wage Violation Case
When seven restaurant workers sued their employer for claims of unpaid overtime and minimum wage violations, Levy Ratner’s Allyson L. Belovin reached a settlement of more than $400,000 on their behalf.
Judge Ronnie Abrams of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, awarded the plaintiffs’ recoveries ranging from $15,700 up to $85,650 each, and totaling more than 80% of the estimated potential recovery at trial.
Class Action Filed on Behalf of Non‑Union Home Care Workers Alleges ERISA and New York Wage Parity Violations
On November 28, 2018, Levy Ratner and Feinberg Jackson Worthman & Wasow filed a class action on behalf of Plaintiffs Ynes Gonzalez de Fuente, Mariya Kobryn, and Ivan Kobryn in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York against, among others, Preferred Home Care of New York, Edison Home Health Care, and Healthcap Assurance, Inc., under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) and the New York State Home Care Worker Wage Parity Law (“Wage Parity Law”). The plaintiffs seek to represent a proposed class of approximately 4,000 home health aides. The complaint alleges that Preferred and Edison created a single employer welfare benefit plan for the purpose of appearing compliant with the Wage Parity Law, while actually evading its requirements and misappropriating ERISA-protected Plan assets. Through this scheme, over a two-year period, the complaint alleges Preferred and Edison purported to set aside approximately $35.5 million dollars into the Plan, but in fact paid out less than $10 million towards employee health benefits. Instead, as alleged, Preferred and Edison concocted a plan to retain millions of dollars of Plan assets for themselves and/or their principals, in violation of the Wage Parity Law and ERISA’s fiduciary and prohibited transaction rules.