Since 1991, we have been at the forefront of efforts to ensure fair and decent work for low income workers, dignity for their families, and accountability in communities facing economic upheaval.


Our Mission

The Maurice and Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice is a non-profit
organization dedicated to providing advocacy and support to poor and working people on
important societal issues with national impact. The Sugar law Center's work is guided by the
principle that economic and social rights are civil rights, inseparable from human rights and
more sacred than property interests.

The Maurice and Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice is a national non-profit, public-interest law center. We are headquartered in Detroit, but our work helps people and communities across the United States.   

We provide advocacy, representation, education, research, and technical support to empower low income workers, their families, and community groups seeking systemic change toward economic and social justice.  Our work has included supporting grassroots efforts for living wage ordinances, combating wage theft, opposing discrimination in the nation's workplaces, promoting economic security after mass job loss, seeking real economic and quality of life benefits for communities impacted by large-scale development projects, challenging environmental racism, opposing the loss of democratic rights in low income communities, and pressing for corporate and government accountability in myriad other ways.

The Sugar Law Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Contributions are tax-deductible under the terms of the tax law.

Sugar Law's work has been covered by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, local newspapers around the country, the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, National Public Radio, Detroit's Metrotimes, and the National Law Journal, among other publications.

The Sugar Law Center is proudly affiliated with the National Lawyers Guild and all staff are members of the National Organization of Legal Services Workers, UAW Local 2320.

a few highlights OF OUR WORK

  • Have represented, counselled, trained, and assisted immigrant workers and workers advocates challenging wage theft leading to the recovery of unpaid wages for more than five thousand workers and to the establishment of a workers center to assist immigrant workers in Southwest Detroit. 
  • Along with our community partners, Sugar Law has been at the forefront of efforts in Michigan to promote community benefits and ensure accountability from developers to residents facing the impacts of large scale development projects in low income communities.
  • The first nonprofit law center to represent and advocate for workers rights under the Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act when facing mass layoffs and worksite closings. As a result, Sugar Law has become a national resource for displaced workers. 
  • The Sugar Law Center was one of the first groups to file complaints with the EPA's Office of Civil Rights and seek enforcement of Title VI to combat environmental discrimination, becoming a leading advocate for environmental justice.
  • At the forefront of efforts to combat unconscionable automated determination of unemployment insurance claims, our office has represented thousands of workers wrongfully accused of fraud, obtained the court settlement ending the use of the system in fraud cases and requiring state review of tens of thousands improper fraud determinations.  Our office continues efforts seeking accountability from the state and corporations who perpetrated these practices on unemployed workers.      
  • Within in weeks after passage of Michigan's emergency manager law that suspends democratic governance in financially distressed cities and school districts, the Sugar Law Center and partners in the community and organized labor, initiated multi-strategy efforts to overturn the law and end its discriminatory application in communities of color.
  • Obtaining one of the first settlements for a transgendered worker under the state's employment discrimination laws.