Criminal Records and Employment
Since joining NELP in 2015, senior staff attorney Beth Avery has supported NELP’s efforts to create more diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplaces by providing legal and technical assistance on removing unfair barriers to employment. Beth’s advocacy has particularly focused on expanding employment opportunities for people with arrest and conviction records. In partnership with allies across the country, Beth works to advance fair chance hiring (“ban the box”) and “fair chance licensing” laws and policies. For example, she worked with a statewide coalition of advocates and formerly incarcerated leaders to enact the California Fair Chance Act in 2017, which requires employers to delay background checks, as well as to reform occupational licensing laws to expand access by people with records. As part of her advocacy, she has testified before state legislatures, advised lawmakers and local advocates on policy design and implementation, and authored amicus briefs to federal and state courts.
Beth initially joined NELP as a Ford Foundation legal fellow. Prior to her time at NELP, Beth clerked for the Honorable Jesus G. Bernal in the Central District of California as well as justices of the New Jersey Supreme Court. Before pursuing her legal training, she assisted underserved communities through a variety of service projects across the country with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC).
Beth is admitted to practice law in California. She is a proud member of the NELP Staff Association, NOLSW, UAW, LOCAL 2320.
J.D., Harvard Law School
B.A., The College of New Jersey