National Employment Lawyers Association And The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy Appoint New Executive Director

Seasoned legal advocate and former workers’ rights attorney Jeffrey A. Mittman selected by unanimous board vote

Concord, Calif. – Dec 10, 2020 – After an extensive nationwide search, the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) and The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy (The Institute) are pleased to announce the appointment of Jeffrey A. Mittman as the organizations’ incoming executive director, beginning January 4, 2021.

In this role, Mittman will lead NELA and The Institute in working toward the shared vision of a future in which all workers are treated with dignity and respect; workplaces are equitable, diverse, and inclusive; and the well-being of workers is a priority in business practices.

This is a particularly critical time for workers and the attorneys who represent them against all manner of illegal treatment in the workplace, such as discrimination, harassment, wage theft, safety issues, and more. These issues have been magnified by the challenging, and frequently dangerous, circumstances arising from COVID-19. Congress has yet to pass a new stimulus package to aid those in desperate need of relief; instead of being laser focused on the American people, one of the hold-ups is how best to protect corporations from liability in COVID-related lawsuits.

The NELA board and staff are very much looking forward to working with Jeffrey in shaping our future,” said Wade B. Cowan, president of the NELA board of directors. “His impressive background in advocacy and the protection of civil rights clearly demonstrates he has the experience needed to move the organization forward, particularly as the country navigates the economic fallout and health outcomes of the pandemic. Jeffrey’s commitment to collaboration, proven leadership and deep understanding of our work truly set him apart.”

Rebecca L. Salawdeh, president of The Institute’s board of directors, said, “The Institute board is eager to partner with Jeffrey in expanding our capacity to advance workers’ rights. The Institute must be ready to confront the changing workers’ rights landscape and ensure we are at the forefront of research and education that will lead to a better workplace. We are confident that with Jeffrey at the helm, The Institute will be able to fully realize its potential.”

Mittman most recently served as the chief operating officer for The Equity Project, a charter school focused on educational equity for students from low-income families. Prior to that, Mittman served as executive director of the ACLU of Missouri, which played a key role in the investigation of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson and in obtaining state recognition of marriage for same-sex couples. He previously held positions at the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office, as well as affiliates in Alaska and California.

Mittman also served as an attorney in private practice for several years, specializing in litigation, including criminal defense and employment discrimination matters.

“I am honored and excited to assume this key leadership role at NELA and The Institute,” Mittman said. “Both organizations have had a transformative influence on justice for workers, and there is tremendous opportunity for growth. The country has been in upheaval for some time, which has disproportionately affected vulnerable and marginalized communities. It will be a privilege to work alongside the bold advocates who continually fight for workers and bring about much-needed–and long overdue–change.”

Mittman will be based at the organizations’ headquarters in Concord, California and can be contacted at

About the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA)

Founded in 1985, the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) is the nation’s largest bar association whose 2,000 members exclusively or primarily represent workers to ensure the preservation of their rights. The organization provides continuing legal education, works to ensure a fair judiciary, and advocates for laws and policies that promote justice for workers. NELA members have represented tens of thousands of individuals who have experienced injustice in the workplace, including discrimination, harassment, and wage theft.

About The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy (The Institute)

The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy is a nonprofit research organization focused on protecting and enhancing workers’ rights. Founded by the National Employment Lawyers Association in 2008, The Institute studies issues that impact workers, informs policymakers about necessary systemic improvements, and educates the public about workers’ rights.