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Southern Migrant Legal Services ("SMLS") is a project of Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. ("TRLA"), one of the nation's largest nonprofit corporations that provides civil legal services to eligible low-income persons. SMLS opened in Nashville in the fall of 2001 to provide free employment-related legal services to migrant farm, poultry, catfish, nursery, and forestry workers in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. TRLA is one of the nation's premier law firms in representing migrant and seasonal farmworkers, with over 30 years of experience in zealous, fearless, and effective advocacy.
Most of SMLS's work is employment litigation in federal court. SMLS's litigation has included representation of farmworkers and victims of labor trafficking with claims under the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the federal H-2A program, and state contract, wage-and-hour, tort, and worker's compensation legislation. SMLS also assists victims of labor trafficking and severe workplace crimes obtain immigration relief.