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Labor Rights Consultant

The ABA Center for Human Rights’ (the Center) Justice Defenders Program Labor Rights Initiative is seeking a contracting organization or consultant with expertise in issues related to one or more of the following:

  • The rights of migrant workers;
  • The right to unionize, including the advancement of laws enabling organizing and ending impunity for anti-union practices;
  • Sectoral, or industry-wide unions;
  • Union inclusivity, particularly regarding migrant workers;
  • Women’s rights in the workplace, including pregnancy accommodations and maternity leave;
  • The protection of labor rights activists facing judicial harassment and other forms of intimidation;
  • And, supporting work at the intersection of environmental and labor rights.

The Center, in collaboration with the selected organization, seeks to provide technical legal assistance to labor rights defenders as well as to advance labor rights and improve working conditions globally. The Labor Rights Initiative, launched in 2021, supports unions, workers’ rights organizations, and labor rights defenders in their pursuit for the realization of labor rights, including the right to freedom of association. It has worked in a number of countries, including Ecuador, Serbia, Tajikistan, Lesotho and Zimbabwe, on issues such as the right to unionization, access to remedy, forced labor, and women’s rights in the workplace. The organization or consultant should have experience understanding these issues under international and/or national laws.

The Center aims to incorporate innovative strategies to engage the legal sector, international organizations, and/or business sector to promote labor rights, improve labor conditions, and to end impunity for rights violators. Candidates should highlight their experience in one or more of the listed issue areas, as well their skills in strategies such as legal drafting, factfinding, and more.

The selected organization or consultant would be part of a roster of subject matter experts for the Initiative, to support ongoing cases as well as future projects.  

The indicative types of work to be included in the scope of consultancies include: 

  • Identifying potential cases to engage with for the Labor Rights Initiative
    • Monitoring labor rights situations and keeping the Center informed on any and all developments
    • Identifying potential cases and preparing short case memorandum summarizing facts, legal issues, and why potential intervention of the Center under Justice Defenders is not redundant/can be effective
    • Identifying gaps in assistance as provided by others and ensuring there will be access with selected labor rights defenders, local partners and other relevant parties
    • Gathering information and conducting research relevant to the selected cases
  • Conducting advocacy
    • Identify and execute advocacy strategies for the labor rights defenders’ cases with stakeholders including, but not limited to: UN mechanisms, regional human rights bodies, corporate accountability NGOs, and governments
    • Organizing advocacy events on the cases in collaboration with the Center such as roundtables or strategic litigation workshops/trainings
    • Participating in/organizing meetings with representatives from various local or regional non-profits, inter-governmental and governmental bodies, international organizations, etc. to advocate and push forth the Center’s recommendations on various calls to action
  • Research and Produce Reports and/or Papers
    • Prepare, draft, and submit reports to the Center in support of labor rights cases within the following and other related topics: support for labor rights defenders; the rights of migrant workers; women’s right to work; freedom of association; and corporate accountability
    • Analyze legal issues under international and/or national laws within the cases and produce legal memos or draft submissions
    • Facilitate translations of work into Spanish and/or Serbian, which will be covered by the Center upon prior approval
    • In coordination with the Center, prepare a distribution strategy for each report and conduct follow up advocacy for these reports with specific next steps that could include but are not limited to:
      • Advocacy activities targeting specific bodies, e.g. UN Special Procedures, Ministries of Labor, International Labor Organization (ILO), Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
      • Distributing the report(s) to engender dialogues with the relevant regional or international bodies and/or organizations working on similar issues/matters
      • Organizing public events presenting the findings in the reports that the Center publishes
      • Working to ensure media coverage/buy-in of the published report(s) via blogs, social media, articles, and other relevant activities


Candidates should meet one or more of the following criteria.

  • Possesses a strong and demonstrated professional network among labor rights activists and/or unions in the country or thematic area
  • Demonstrated experience supporting unions and labor rights defenders, particularly with regard to the specified thematic areas
  • Excellent knowledge of UN, ILO, and OSCE human rights standards
  • In-depth knowledge of human rights monitoring and reporting methodology and practice
  • Experience of designing and implementing projects, tools, or instruments to enhance the protection of HRDs
  • Demonstrated gender awareness and sensitivity, and an ability to integrate a gender perspective into tasks and activities
  • Familiarity with international supervisory mechanisms, such as the ILO
  • Knowledge of supply chain due diligence laws and other remedial frameworks such as the OECD NCPs, IFI accountability mechanism.
  • Ability to independently draft a report according to ABA standards

How to Apply

Please send the following documents in a single PDF to [email protected] and CC [email protected] by February 29 at 5pm EST. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

  • Statement of interest detailing your relevant expertise and skills (e.g. legal drafting, factfinding), and your availability through June 2024. (Maximum 1 page)
  • Business resume/CV or relevant one-pager
  • Hourly or daily rate (please indicate if you have a different rate for different types of tasks) 

Pro Bono Legal Consultancies

The American Bar Association Center for Human Rights seeks experienced pro bono legal consultants on a recurring basis. Pro bono consultants contribute to the work of the Center by

  • Observing trials that have garnered local, regional, or international attention and providing detailed analysis of those trials;
  • Drafting letters to U.N. Special Rapporteurs pertaining to attacks against human rights defenders and rule of law around the world; 
  • Assisting with the preparation of reports and conducting libel review.

Interested candidates should fill out the pro bono volunteer form and submit a recent resume/CV. Candidates with foreign language proficiency are encouraged to apply.