AABANY Provides Anti-Sexual Harassment Training to Community Organizations

The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) was invited by the Asian American Federation and some of its member agencies – not-for-profit organizations that have substantial Chinese-speaking staff – to help with training their limited-English-proficient staff in their native languages on the prevention of sexual harassment in order to meet the new requirements under the New York State and New York City Human Rights Law.

On behalf of AABANY,  Karen Kithan Yau, a co-chair of the Pro Bono and Community Service Committee and Eric Su, a co-chair of the Labor and Employment Law Committee, both of whom are long-time employment lawyers, representing workers and employers respectively, gave three trainings, one in Cantonese Chinese, one in Mandarin Chinese, and one in English. The trainings took place in late September and early October. The training participants included kitchen and housekeeping staff, part-time teachers, museum staff, policy advocates, and an executive director. The discussion was rich, lively, and illuminating.

Every New York State employer is now required to provide sexual harassment training o their employees annually. That means that, as of October 9, 2019, every employer should have provided their first such training. Moreover, the New York State and City laws now protect virtually all employees, including contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants or others providing services from sexual harassment in the workplace. Thus the need to provide linguistically and culturally competent instruction is acute. The New York City Human Rights Commission has provided impressive training materials, including online trainings in 11 languages. However, there remain employees who will need training in their native languages. Experienced employment attorneys or skilled trainers of human resources areas who are linguistically and culturally competent will continue to be needed.

Learn more about AABANY’s Pro Bono and Community Service Committee here. Learn more about AABANY’s Labor and Employment Law Committee here. Thanks to Karen and Eric for providing these trainings to organizations serving the Asian American community.

Access to Justice, Legal Needs, and APA Communities

On January 29, 2019, a CLE panel on Access to Justice, Legal Needs and APA Communities was held by AABANY at Cardozo Law School. The panel was organized as a part of an impressive collaborative effort between AABANY’s Academic, Government Service & Public Interest (GSPI), Pro Bono & Community Service and Student Outreach Committees. The panel came from a broad mix of public interest attorneys, law professors and private practitioners. The moderators for the panel were Academic Committee co-chair Suzanne Kim (Professor of Law, Rutgers University) and GSPI co-chair Jonathan Hernandez (Staff Attorney, Legal Aid Society).

The panelists were:

Rina Gurung, Esq., Senior Court Attorney (Trial Part)
NYS Unified Court System

Donna Hae Kyun Lee, Senior Associate Dean of Clinical Programs & Professor
CUNY School of Law

Sussan Lee, Esq., Appellate Counsel
Center for Appellate Litigation

Beatrice Leong, Esq., Associate
Parmet & Zhou LLC; co-chair, AABANY GSPI Committee

Tiffany Ma, Esq., Partner
Young & Ma LLP

Pauline Yeung-Ha, Esq., Partner
Grimaldi & Yeung; co-chair, AABANY Pro Bono Committee

The event discussed how lack of access to income-based legal assistance and to the judicial system affects lower- and middle-income families and individuals, including New York City’s Asian & Pacific American communities that experience under-recognized poverty. Using multiple examples drawn from their own experiences as attorneys, the panelists discussed the impacts of this civil justice gap in family law, elder law, housing, employment law, domestic violence, immigration, language-access, and access to courts. The panelists also encouraged all concerned attorneys and law students alike to engage in pro bono work and community service.

Attendees at the event included AABANY President James Cho, numerous AABANY Committee Chairs, law students and attorneys from a wide range of backgrounds.  Attorney attendees also received 1.5 hours of CLE credit under the new Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias requirement.  After the panel presentation, Pro Bono Committee co-chair Karen Kithan Yau, made a direct appeal to all the attendees to support AABANY’s monthly Pro Bono Clinic, whether as volunteers or as donors or both, as ways to help tackle the many pressing issues discussed by the panel. 

Thanks to all of the speakers for a compelling and informative discussion. Thanks to all who attended and to Cardozo Law School APALSA and Cardozo Law School for hosting.

We thank Kevin Hsi, Co-Chair of AABANY’s Government Service & Public Interest Committee, for providing the photos and write up for this post.

Celebrate APA Heritage Month with AABANY

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and AABANY is celebrating in a variety of ways:

  • May 14 – Hon. Jeffrey K. Oing, Justice of the Supreme Court, State of New York (and long-time AABANY member), will be speaking at Kramer Levin’s APA Heritage Month Celebration, at Kramer Levin’s midtown Manhattan office.  RSVP required by May 10.
  • May 16 – MOCA Community of Heroes Celebration at Golden Unicorn, starting at 6 pm.  AABANY is taking seats there, and if you’d like to join us at a 50% subsidized rate, contact yang.chen@aabany.org.
  • May 18-20 – NYSBA Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Spring Meeting, in association with the Young Lawyers Section, at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York.  Past President and current Judiciary Committee Co-Chair James Chou will be speaking on Sunday morning on the panel entitled, “Your Path Through the Court and to the Bench: What You Need to Know to Get Through a Day in Court.”
  • May 22, Asian American Arts Alliance (a4), Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) and AABANY present: “Revisiting Vincent: The Legacy of the Vincent Chin Case 30 Years Later,” a re-enactment of the Vincent Chin trial, with introduction and talkback led by Hon. Denny Chin and Dean Frank Wu, at New York Law School, starting at 6:30 pm.  Tickets now available for purchase in advance.
  • May 24 – AABANY’s Litigation Committee hosts a Happy Hour at the Hill on 29th and Third Ave., starting at 6:30 pm.  Meet and mingle with members of the Litigation Committee.
  • May 24 – AALDEF’s Young Professionals Committee and Cadwalder Wickersham & Taft host a screening of the documentary “Sing Your Song,” about Harry Belafonte and his role in fighting for civil rights for all Americans.  AALDEF Staff Attorney Jerry Vattamala will take part in a Q&A after the screening and discuss the legacy of Harry Belafonte’s activism and its meaning for today’s generation.
  • May 30 – AABANY joins the Asian American Law Fund of New York (AALFNY) in hosting the Annual Summer Reception, open to the legal community and law students.  It will take place at Edwards Wildman Palmer starting at 6 pm, and there is no cost to attend but RSVP is required by May 25.
  • May 31 – June 2: NAPABA Eastern Super Regional Conference, hosted by APALA-NJ at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.  Many AABANY members and leaders will be there, speaking on panels and reconnecting with NAPABA friends.  Registration now open.

It’s another event-filled APA Heritage Month.  We hope to see you at one or more of the great programs listed above!