Here’s good news for employers facing litigants acting as their own attorneys. The Court of Appeal of California has concluded that low-income ex-employees are not entitled to free counsel under the Shriver Act, which calls for legal counsel to “represent low-income parties in civil matters involving critical issues affecting basic human needs.”
Recent case: Tahseena worked as an independent contractor at a construction project. She was released from the contract after she claimed that she had become sick from construction fumes.
She filed a pro se lawsuit and then asked the court to find her an attorney under the Shriver Act. But the court refused, reasoning that employment law matters didn’t fit into the category of critical issues affecting basic human needs. (Kahn v. Ameresco, No. B243169, Court of Appeal of California 2015)