I went to law school to become a civil rights lawyer. Standing up for the rights of the “underrepresented” is really important to me.
Doing the human rights due diligence work is one way for me to connect my passion for defending the rights of those who can’t stand up for themselves with work the company is doing to make sure that we aren’t trampling on those rights. It makes it more than a job.
It’s very important to me that the company is trying to make the world a better place. I’m proud to work at a company that understands and supports human rights in all its facets. I have a particular passion for helping women and children.
One way I do this is through our legal division’s pro bono efforts; I work with GAIN (Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network) to represent local victims of trafficking.
In one case, my client had given up a promising career in the Pacific for an arranged marriage and promises of furthering her career and education in the U.S. Instead, she lived with her husband and his parents, and basically became their slave. She was drugged, isolated, physically and verbally abused…powerless.
She managed to escape, and I represented her to get her U visa, which gives victims of certain crimes temporary legal status and work eligibility in the U.S. for up to four years. She now has a successful career at a national nonprofit, and in October of last year, I was privileged to witness her marriage to a lovely young man who treats her with love and respect. She would tell you that her life has been changed, and she has blossomed.
To have the opportunity to help women who are powerless get out of awful situations — like forced prostitution — and have the company support me. That's what keeps me going.
Elizabeth Finn Johnson is senior counsel, employee relations, at The Coca-Cola Company. GAIN recently presented Coca-Cola with its Corporation of the Year award for its work on the U and T visas.
In 2012, Coca-Cola’s Legal Division was honored by the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section for its legacy of providing pro bono legal services to the community and promoting a culture of giving back.