National Employment Lawyers Association

About National Employment Lawyers Association

The National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) is the country’s largest organization of lawyers who exclusively or primarily represent employees in cases involving employment discrimination, illegal workplace harassment, wrongful termination, denial of employee benefits, and other employment-related matters.

Founded in 1985, NELA and its 69 state and local Affiliates have more than 4,000 members nationwide. Thriving circuit, state, and local Affiliates across the country enable NELA to accomplish more for workers’ rights than we could alone.

Our Vision

  • Employees will be paid at least a living wage in an environment free of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and capricious employment decisions;
  • Employers will fulfill their promises to provide retirement, health, and other benefits;
  • Employees’ safety and livelihood will not be compromised for the sake of corporate profit and interests;
  • Individuals will have effective legal representation to enforce their rights to a fair and just workplace, adequate remedies, and a right to trial by jury.

Advancing Equality & Justice

In advocating for employee rights, NELA participates as amicus curiae to provide our unique perspective in significant employment cases. We have created a strong and respected Amicus Program—since 1985, we have written or signed on to more than 250 amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, U.S. District Courts, state courts, and before government agencies.

NELA is at the forefront of efforts to advance equality and justice in the American workplace through federal legislation and public policy. NELA lobbies and provides technical assistance to Congress on scores of federal legislation that bring us closer to achieving our mission.

NELA advocates for independent and fair-minded federal judges who are committed to equal justice under law for all of America’s workers, and who do not place the interests of employers over the rights of employees.

Serving Employee Rights Advocates

In carrying out our mission to serve lawyers who advocate for equality and justice in the American workplace, NELA provides exceptional opportunities for professional development through networking, educational programs, publications, and technical support. Learn more about membership in NELA.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values of the National Employment Lawyers Association and essential to the achievement of our mission. When applied in unison, diversity, equity, and inclusion create meaningful representation and involvement of persons with varied backgrounds, experiences, identities, and abilities in every aspect of NELA, each with the opportunity to make robust contributions to the organization without discriminatory barriers. To express these values NELA promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion in our organizational structure and policies, leadership, membership, programs and services, employment practices, and relationships with coalition partners and donors. NELA champions the culture of participation and equal opportunity that is woven into the fabric of our mission and vision for workers and workplaces nationwide.

The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy

The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy (The Institute) is NELA’s related charitable public interest organization. Founded in 2008, The Institute is NELA’s indispensible partner in achieving our shared mission of advocating for employee rights and advancing equality and justice in the American workplace. We encourage you to visit The Institute's website to learn more.

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