“I had to run limping from court to court with my leg broken from a work injury, just so that my employer would pay my wages and I could and feed my children” – Nidal
In its several years of experience in labor law issues, JCLA has found that, while the provision of decent work conditions is a joint responsibility of the state and employers, decent work cannot be achieved without the legal empowerment of workers. For workers, in fact, legal empowerment means to have the tools to claim their rights rather than waving them for lack of knowledge or trust in the system. It means that workers can protect themselves from exploitation, while pressuring employers into fulfilling their obligations. It means lobbying decision-makers to enact laws and regulations ensuring that workers’ rights are not violated nor curbed.
In the case of Nidal, father of three, his foot was crushed by a malfunctioning elevator door at the cleaning company he was employed at. He had to stop working due to his injury. The company not only refused to pay for his treatment or any kind of compensation, but it also withheld two months of Nidal’s salary. His case was referred to JCLA after the start of the legal proceedings. JCLA was able to claim Nidal’s rights, getting the company to pay his salary and compensate him. “If it weren’t for JCLA, I would have not been able to treat my leg and go back to work. My children would have slept hungry”.
Like most legal issues, labor law problems do not only impact the single individual whose rights are violated. They have repercussions on entire families affecting their financial stability, which often depends on one single breadwinner and source of income. Aware of the dire need to protect the family ecosystem and prevent it from falling further into poverty, JCLA helped over 650 workers claim their rights through its legal services between 2018-2020.
However, all too often workers are afraid to take their case to court for fear of repercussions from their employer, who other than firing them, may make it impossible for them to find work elsewhere. In addition, many non-Jordanian workers without a permit are unable to claim their rights as they are working in violation of the law. Often this vulnerability is exploited by employers to neglect their responsibilities.
Acknowledging this fact, JCLA places a strong focus on awareness-raising activities to educate workers and employers on their rights and duties. Since 2018, JCLA has provided 240 awareness sessions reaching 275 employers and over 6,300 workers from different sectors, such as agriculture, construction, service industries, as well as home-based businesses. JCLA also provides tailored sessions on the protection of women in the workplace. In 2019, JCLA launched a 7-day social media campaign to familiarize the general public on the importance of decent work conditions, as well as workers’ rights and duties, reaching over 700,000 users.
Through my work as a lawyer, I could experience first-hand people’s need for legal awareness. This is what motivated me to work as an awareness trainer at JCLA – Ali Sulibe, Awareness Trainer.
JCLA continues to grow and develop its services, introducing mediation and alternative dispute resolution for labor issues, and designing a centralized system where its specialized labor attorneys consult on all labor issues referred to JCLA.