As Rodrigo Camarena sees it, you can hail a car and order food on your smartphone; why shouldn’t it also help you exercise your rights?
Reclamo, a new web app created by Justicia Lab, the nonprofit innovation incubator that Camarena directs, helps documented and undocumented immigrant workers who have experienced wage theft. By clicking through questions in English or Spanish with the help of a worker advocate, users can assemble case details, review their rights, and ultimately produce finished legal claims that can be filed instantly. A process that would otherwise take multiple meetings with an attorney can now be done within an hour.
The tool launched last October with beta testing in New York that focused on the construction industry, a sector identified as particularly rife with abuse, and helped recover $1 million in lost wages—more than double what it cost to build. In mid-May, it was expanded in a bid to give workers in businesses from manufacturing to housecleaning more leverage with their employers.