As part of fulfilling our mission to promote the interests of individual employees and assisting the lawyers who represent them, NELA files amicus curiae briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Courts of Appeals in cases involving employment and civil rights-related issues. The cases that are most appropriate for NELA’s appearance as amicus curiae are those presenting emerging issues in employment and civil rights law, those seeking to extend current law to new situations involving clients of our members, or those challenging an existing body of law.
A Powerful Voice For Employee Rights
Member involvement is critical in making NELA an even stronger and more powerful voice for employee rights in our nation’s capital and its courtrooms. NELA relies on the generous support of our members and volunteer brief writers in order to participate as amicus curiae. If you are interested in being an amicus author, please contact Ashley Westby, NELA’s Program Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) and include the area(s) of law for which you would be willing to write a brief.
Recent Amicus Briefs
On March 6, 2023, NELA and the Institute jointly filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Groff v. DeJoy (22-174), urging the court to strike a delicate balance for workers while reevaluating the current standard for providing religious accommodations as set forth in Hardison. The brief recognizes the need for clarification of the current Hardison de minimis standard, which was written in a context where undue hardship was not yet part of Title VII. NELA and the Institute argue that the court should revise the standard to require employers to show actual harm and reiterate the appropriate […]
On February 1, 2023, NELA, joined by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Appellant in Fitzgerald v. Roncalli High School, Inc. (7th Cir.), urging the court to maintain the totality-of-the-circumstances test established in Hosanna-Tabor when determining if an employee is a “minister” in a religious organization. Michelle Fitzgerald, a guidance counselor at a Catholic high school, was fired after Roncalli administrators learned she was married to a woman. The district court relied solely on one factor, Fitzgerald’s employment contract when finding that she was a “minister” and therefore unable to avail herself […]
On January 31, 2023, NELA signed on to an amicus brief filed by the Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association (MWELA), asking the Federal Circuit to hear Avalos v. United States en banc. Eleazar Avalos’ attorneys pushed for en banc review on behalf of the plaintiffs, federal employees who were denied compensatory damages for delayed payment of wages during the government shutdown of 2018–2019. The brief argues that the panel majority erred in carving out an extra-textual exception to the FLSA to relieve the government of liability when it failed to timely pay its employees due to a lack of appropriated […]
On December 7, NELA joined Public Justice and six other civil rights organizations in filing an amicus brief in support of workers seeking to remove claims from arbitration under the 2021 Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act (the Act). The brief stems from a suit filed by former employees of Everyrealm, alleging sexual harassment, disability discrimination, racial discrimination, and pay inequity. Defendants argued that only the sexual harassment claims were exempt from arbitration. The brief examines the plain language of the statute, arguing that “(I)n sum, the text and legislative history of the Act could not […]
On September 30, NELA signed on to the National Women’s Law Center amicus brief in Boyer v. United States, in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The lawsuit was brought under the Equal Pay Act by Dr. Leslie Boyer, a clinical pharmacist at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) who was paid less than her male colleague for the same job, even though she had seven years more experience. The VA admitted that they paid Dr. Boyer less because it was based on her salary history. The amicus brief explains that relying on salary history is […]