Founded in 2008 by the National Employment Lawyers Association, The Institute's mission is to advocate for employee rights by advancing equality and justice in the American workplace.
The Institute will achieve its mission through a multi-disciplinary approach in combination with innovative legal strategies, policy development, grassroots advocacy, and public education. The Institute's current and future programmatic activities include:
- A "Strategic Public Education Campaign To End Forced Arbitration Of Employment Disputes," which maximizes The Institute's impact in achieving its public policy goal to stop this pernicious employer practice—one of the most significant obstacles to the protection, enforcement, and vindication of employee rights.
- The Paul H. Tobias Attorney Fellowship Program, which offers a new lawyer who embodies the tireless spirit of Paul Tobias, NELA's Founder, the opportunity to work on cutting-edge projects at The Institute for two years.
- The Employee Rights Advocacy Scholarship Program, which provides public interest, legal services, and private lawyers who otherwise could not afford to attend NELA's continuing legal educational programs, the opportunity to do so.
- The Employee Rights Advocacy Fellowship Program, which provides law students the opportunity to work at The Institute, thereby cultivating the next generation of employee rights advocates.
- Public education relating to access to the courts, a fair and independent judiciary, and other workers' rights issues.
- Non-partisan research and development of important issues affecting the American workplace.