Mizrahi Law is devoted to protecting the rights of employees in Los Angeles and throughout California. I have dedicated my career to representing workers. I founded the firm to ensure that each of my clients receives the care and attention he or she deserves in their fight for justice.
I grew up in New York City as the daughter of two immigrants who were working toward the American Dream. I watched how my parents’ work shaped their identity, pride, and well-being. I developed an appreciation for the importance of our jobs in each of our lives.
While in college at UC-Berkeley, I majored in Business Administration (with aspirations of being a business owner like my father), but also found myself drawn to ethnic studies and social psychology classes. I was excited to learn about the various civil rights movements and how activists used the courts to advance equal rights. Cases like Brown v. Board of Education, Loving v. Virginia, and Roe v. Wade inspired me, as I saw how the law could be used as a tool to push for social change and progress. It seemed to me that in those heady days, the change was almost palpable as unfair laws and policies across the country were deemed unconstitutional in one fell swoop! In college, I was also fascinated by the research of social psychologists who sought to observe and explain how people think and act and why we do the things we do. I learned that even those with the best of intentions can harbor unconscious biases and associations that influence their behavior. It is only by acknowledging this and working to correct it that we can get closer to the ideal of a just and equal society.
The more aware I became, the more I came to see that while we have come a long way, there is more progress to be made. Women still earn 77 cents to the male dollar for the same work (even less for women of color), women and minorities are still grossly underrepresented in positions of authority, the most vulnerable populations are still widely abused (for example, farm workers), caregiving remains undervalued and marginalized, and economic inequality runs rampant. It is too soon to declare victory and deem discrimination a thing of the past; there is still much to be done!
Inspired to work for civil rights, I applied both to law school at Yale and to a master’s program in Gender & Social Policy at the London School of Economics. I wanted to study how social policies and laws influence equality in greater depth, so I deferred starting at Yale for a year to complete the master’s program.
At the LSE, I explored the powerful influences that social policies and law have on gender equality. Tax policies, childcare credits, and paid and job-protected parental leave–as examples–all shape familial dynamics and the role of men and women in society as a whole. My master’s dissertation focused on single mothers, wages, and poverty in the United States. I learned that the majority of children of working single mothers live in poverty, in large part because the minimum wage is simply too low to support a single-income family, even if the parent is working 50 hours a week. It became clear to me that workplace fairness is a prerequisite for social equality.
In law school, I took an employment discrimination law class–and I was hooked! My passion for employment law was confirmed during the summer I spent working at the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, where I focused on cases involving disability discrimination in employment.
As I delved into my law studies, I was still drawn to impact litigation. At the time, the Dukes v. Wal-Mart case was under way, promising to be the largest employment class action ever certified. It sought to cover 1.6 million female workers at Wal-Mart alleged to have been subjected to discrimination in pay and promotions. (While around 2/3 of Wal-Mart employees were women, only about 1/3 of managers were, and women on average earned about $5,000 a year less than their male counterparts). Upon graduating from law school, I pounced at the opportunity to work on the Dukes case and joined one of the firms representing the plaintiffs.
After that, I spent a year working as a clerk for the Honorable Richard A. Paez of the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit. It was a tremendous opportunity to see how our courts work from the inside, and a true honor to work for a person who had dedicated his career to social justice before becoming a judge.
I remained committed to working for employee justice, and next spent six years at the civil rights firm Allred, Maroko & Goldberg. There, I was given free reign to select, litigate, and try the employment cases that motivated me and stirred my passions.
While still inspired by the large-scale cases intended to help effectuate social change in one fell swoop, it is the individual employment cases that have won me over. By representing individuals, I can form a connection with each person whose case I take on. For most people, our jobs are a huge part of our identities. That’s why “What do you do?” almost always comes up in casual conversation when two people meet. People commonly spend the biggest part of their day working, and they take pride in their work. When someone has been wronged at work–whether by being discriminated against, harassed, denied accommodations, or mistreated in some other way–it is impossible to just “let it go” or “move on.” That is particularly true in this economy, where high unemployment prevents people from readily finding another job. As a result, people who are discriminated against at work suffer not only potentially catastrophic financial consequences, but they can lose their self-esteem, self-worth, and dignity.
In addition, society values good mothers and fathers, sons and daughters. We therefore have laws that allow job-protected leave for pregnant and new mothers, for fathers so that they too can care for their babies, and for workers who must care for sick and disabled relatives. However, it is not enough to have a law or policy in place if people are too scared to utilize it. As a mother who is actively involved in the parenting community, I have spoken to numerous new parents who wish they could take the full leave time that the law allows them but who won’t out of fear they would be seen as less committed to their jobs and be “mommy tracked” or “daddy tracked.” I also know first-hand how much work it takes to care for and feed a baby, and how families need all the support and flexibility they can get. Only by fighting to enforce the rights to workplace accommodations and to pregnancy, disability, and family leave do we demonstrate that we as a society value parenting and caregiving.
I fight hard to ensure that my clients can work with pride and dignity, and can provide and care for their families. I work closely with my clients to know their specific needs. I am proud to create a firm where I can dedicate myself to representing employees in their fight for what is fair and just.