Rebecca Eisenbrey

  • Hosted by Equal Justice Center
  • Sponsored by Texas Access to Justice Foundation
  • Service location Austin, Texas
  • Law school The University of Michigan Law School
  • Issue area Civil Rights/Civil Liberties
  • Fellowship class year 2017
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Rebecca protected the civil rights and jobs of low-income Texans striving to overcome criminal records, using direct advocacy and enforcement of federal, state, and local civil rights laws and employment laws.

The employment barriers faced by people with a criminal record have impeded and disrupted families for generations, limiting individuals’ ability to escape poverty and to support their families. Job applicants with a criminal record are routinely excluded from any further individual consideration. Furthermore, the background checks used by employers are often unreliable: the National Employment Law Project estimates that 1.8 million workers a year are subject to FBI background checks that include inaccurate or incomplete information. In 2016, Austin became the first city in the South to enact a Fair Chance Hiring ordinance for private employers, but implementation has been slow and enforcement has been weak. Affected low-income working Texans desperately need specialized legal advocates to help them implement the Austin ordinance, advocate for similar ordinances in other cities, and secure fair consideration even
where there is no specific ordinance.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Rebecca has:

  • Provided full representation to 100 clients who were denied employment because of their criminal records
  • Provided advice and counsel and/or referrals to an additional 250 individuals
  • Collaborated with community organizations in central and southeast Texas to host dozens of Know Your Rights presentations on fair chance hiring
  • Worked with community organizations to encourage the City of Austin to implement strong, effective regulations to guide enforcement of the Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance and to increase community outreach and education

What’s Next

Rebecca plans to stay at the Equal Justice Center as a staff attorney, continuing on the projects she started during her Fellowship and expanding the scope of her work in order to assist as many low-income workers as possible.

Meet Other Fellows Like Rebecca

View All

Photo of Emma Shakeshaft

Emma Shakeshaft

Host: American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin

Sponsor: Kohler Foundation Inc., Quarles & Brady LLP

Photo of Bobby Hunter

Bobby Hunter

Host: American Civil Liberties Union Racial Justice Program

Sponsor: Ropes & Gray LLP

Margaret Burgess

Host: Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc.

Sponsor: Cox Enterprises, Eversheds Sutherland

Brettney Moore

Host: Beacon Law

Sponsor: Texas Access to Justice Foundation