Joan C. Williams has played a central role in reshaping the debates over women’s advancement for the past quarter-century. Described as having “something approaching rock star status” by The New York Times, Williams was awarded the Hastings Visionary Award (2013), the American Bar Foundation’s Outstanding Scholar Award (2012), the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award (2012), the ABA’s Margaret Brent Award for Women Lawyers of Achievement (2006), and the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award for Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What to Do About It (Oxford University Press, 2000). In recognition of her interdisciplinary work, Williams gave the 2008 Massey Lectures in American Civilization at Harvard University, delivered in prior years by (among others) Eudora Welty, Gore Vidal and Toni Morrison.
Williams, who is Distinguished Professor of Law and Hastings Foundation Chair at University of California, Hastings College of the Law, has authored or co-authored six books. She has written over ninety academic articles and book chapters, including one listed in 1996 as one of the most cited law review articles ever written. Her work has been excerpted in casebooks on six different topics.
As Founding Director of WorkLife Law (WLL), Williams has played a leading role in documenting workplace bias against mothers, leading to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s 2007 Guidance on Caregiver Discrimination. Her article “Beyond the Maternal Wall: Relief for Family Caregivers Who Are Discriminated Against on the Job,” 26 Harvard Women’s Law Review 77 (2003)(co-authored with Nancy Segal), was prominently cited in the landmark case, Back v. Hastings on Hudson Union Free School District, 365 F.3d 107 (2d Cir. 2004). Williams has organized social scientists to document workplace bias against mothers, notably in a 2004 special issue of the Journal of Social Issues titled “The Maternal Wall” (co-edited with Monica Biernat and Faye Crosby), which received the Distinguished Publication Award of the Association for Women in Psychology.
Williams also has played a central role in documenting how work-family conflict affects working-class families, through reports such as “One Sick Child Away From Being Fired” (2006), “Three Faces of Work-Family Conflict” (2010) (co-authored by Heather Boushey of the Center for American Progress), and “Improving Work-Life Fit in Hourly Jobs” (2011). Williams’ current research focuses on how work-family conflict differs at different class locations; on the “culture wars” as class conflict; on how gender bias differs by race; and on the role of gender pressures on men in creating work-family conflict and gender inequality. Follow her work on her Huffington Post blog.
Liz Morris is the Deputy Director of the Center for WorkLife Law. She works to advance gender equality in the workplace and to achieve work-life balance for all employees. Currently, Liz focuses on expanding protections for pregnant workers and students, and improving employer scheduling practices to increase work-life stability for hourly workers. Liz co-teaches with Professor Joan Williams on employment discrimination law and related topics. Liz also oversees the Center’s operations and finances.
Prior to joining WorkLife Law, Liz practiced employment and labor law at Leonard Carder, where she represented working people in individual and class action lawsuits challenging unlawful employment practices. She was a key member of the litigation team that secured the acclaimed victory in Alexander v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc., a Ninth Circuit decision finding FedEx pickup and delivery drivers to be employees entitled to the protections of the California Labor Code. Liz is an Associate Chapter Editor for the ABA’s Fair Labor Standards Act treatise and has been published in the California Labor and Employment Law Review. For the last five years, Liz has volunteered at Employment Law Center’s Workers’ Right Clinic, where she supervises law students in counseling low-income clients. Liz earned her J.D. from Stanford Law School and is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College.
Jamie Dolkas is the Center for WorkLife Law’s Director of Women’s Leadership. Prior to joining WLL, Jamie was a Staff Attorney at Equal Rights Advocates (ERA), a national civil rights organization dedicated to advancing gender equality in education and employment, where her practice focused on sex discrimination litigation, best practices training, and legislative advocacy. Jamie co-founded the Bay Area Equal Pay Collaborative, a coalition that educates workers, students, and employers about equal pay laws, salary negotiation strategies, and fair pay best practices. Jamie has written on various matters relevant to working women. She co-authored Expecting A Baby, Not A Lay-Off: Why Federal Law Should Require the Reasonable Accommodation of Pregnant Workers (ERA, May 2012) and Family Responsibilities Discrimination: The Interplay of Title VII, FMLA, & ADA (NELA 2010). Jamie also contributed a chapter in the anthology, The Opt Out Revolution Revisited (Center for WorkLife Law 2012), which she co-authored with Joan Williams. Jamie is an alumni of the Women’s Policy Institute, a year-long legislative advocacy training program for women leaders; she graduated with highest honors from the University of California, Berkeley, and cum laude from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
Jessica Lee is a Legal Fellow at the Center for WorkLife Law. She works to advance gender equality in educational opportunities and in the workplace, with a particular focus on discrimination faced by pregnant women. Jessica leads the Center’s work on developing and implementing best practices to ensure Title IX’s mandate prohibiting pregnancy discrimination in higher education.
Prior to joining WLL, Jessica was a Bertha Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where her work focused on a range of human rights issues, including humanitarian law violations, discrimination, and freedom of speech and information. Her previous work also includes research and advocacy in support of women in the criminal justice system and women facing discrimination and human rights violations internationally.
Jessica earned her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University.
Chelsey Crowley is the Center for WorkLife Law’s Development Associate. Prior to joining WLL, she worked at the Center for the Study of Women at UCLA, an internationally recognized center for research on gender, sexuality, and women’s issues, where she assisted in areas of both research and publications. She has also interned at Home Street People’s Ministry, a small grassroots organization in Salt River, South Africa, focused on community youth and issues of hunger and poverty. A student of international human rights, Chelsey graduated Phi Theta Kappa from Chaffey College and magna cum laude from UCLA, with high honors and distinction.
Sanaz Rizlenjani is Program Associate at the Center for WorkLife Law. She contributes to the Center’s research, publications, and social media. Previously, Sanaz worked at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, where she helped develop on ongoing project on women, wealth, and water. Her experience also includes covering Middle East politics and affairs for radio. From 2012-2013, Sanaz lived in Cairo, studying international law, Middle East politics, and Arabic. As an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, Sanaz studied global development and interned with Human Rights Watch in San Francisco.
WorkLife Law Key Affiliates
Cynthia Thomas Calvert, a nationally-recognized employment lawyer, researcher, and writer, is a senior advisor to the Center on family responsibilities discrimination (FRD). She co-authored, with Joan Williams and Gary Phelan, the only legal treatise on FRD: FAMILY RESPONSIBILITIES DISCRIMINATION (Bloomberg BNA 2014). She was the Center’s deputy director until 2010, when she founded Workforce 21C to help employers manage today’s evolving workforce. Through consulting and training, she works with companies to prevent FRD, advance women, implement nonstigmatized flexible work programs, and create inclusive workplace cultures. Cynthia co-founded and co-directed the Project for Attorney Retention with Williams. She and Williams wrote Flex Success: The Lawyer’s Guide to Balanced Hours (WLL Press 2011) and Solving The Part-Time Puzzle: The Law Firm’s Guide to Balanced Hours (NALP 2004). She has been quoted in and written articles for numerous national publications, and speaks frequently about FRD, bias, flexible work arrangements, diversity and inclusion, and advancement of women. Cynthia practices employment law in the District of Columbia and Maryland. She was a partner with the D.C. litigation firm of Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin, LLP (now part of Baker Botts LLP). She later had her own employment law practice in which she counseled businesses on compliance. She is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center and a former clerk for the Honorable Thomas Penfield Jackson (D.D.C.).