Staff and Key Affiliates

Staff

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  • Francesca Bavaro

    Francesca BavaroView

    Executive Assistant & Office Manager

    Francesca Bavaro (she/they) is the Executive Assistant & Office Manager at the Center for WorkLife Law. She helps manage the administrative operations of the organization and provide executive support to the Center’s Founding Director. Prior to joining the Center for WorkLife Law, Francesca had a background in tech startups and city government. Francesca has always been motivated to join services that support and promote the public good. Francesca graduated from Rutgers, The State University of NJ with a B.A. in Political Science. She has also continued her education at CCSF (just for fun!) in Creative Writing and LGBTQ+ studies.

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    Raafiya Ali KhanView

    Policy and Research Fellow

    Raafiya Ali Khan (she/her) is the Policy and Research Fellow at the Center for WorkLife Law. Raafiya serves as the project manager for the Center’s ongoing Bias Interrupters research partnerships, assists the Research Director with experimental design, implementation, and analysis, and promotes key findings through social media and articles written for both popular and academic audiences.

    During her summer internship at UCSF’s Program Management Office, Raafiya authored a comprehensive research report regarding telework and hybrid work best practices, which sparked her interest in workplace equity. Raafiya also served as Managing Editor of her alma mater’s journalism organization, Prospect Journal of International Affairs, focusing on global issues ignored by mainstream media. These pivotal experiences led her to develop a passion for human rights and employment law. Raafiya graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a B.A. in Composite Literature.

  • Chelsey Crowley

    Chelsey CrowleyView

    Program Manager

    Chelsey Crowley (she/her) is the Center for WorkLife Law’s Development & Communications Specialist, managing our women’s leadership programming including our annual flagship program, the Hastings Leadership Academy for Women. 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 worked 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.

  • Jamie Dolkas

    Jamie DolkasView

    SVP of Strategy and Research

    Jamie Dolkas (she/her) is the Center for WorkLife Law’s SVP of Strategy and Research and an Adjunct Law Professor at UC Hastings College of the Law. Jamie is an attorney specializing in employment and civil rights law, with a focus on sex discrimination in employment and education. She leads WorkLife Law’s women’s leadership initiatives, including Hastings Leadership Academy for Women and Women’s Leadership Edge. She also teaches a Leadership for Lawyers course at UC Hastings with Professor Joan Williams, a professional skills course that gives law students tools for career success.

    Prior to joining WorkLife Law, Jamie was a Staff Attorney at Equal Rights Advocates (ERA), a national civil rights organization dedicated to advancing gender equity in education and employment, where her practice focused on sex discrimination litigation, best practices training, and legislative advocacy.

    Jamie has written several publications, including Expecting A Baby, Not A Lay-Off: Why Federal Law Should Require the Reasonable Accommodation of Pregnant Workers (ERA 2012), and a chapter in the anthology, The Opt Out Revolution Revisited (WorkLife Law 2012), which she co-authored with Professor Joan Williams. Jamie graduated with highest honors from the University of California, Berkeley, and cum laude from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She also completed the Women’s Policy Institute, a year-long legislative advocacy training program for women leaders.

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    Henrique FerreiraView

    Development Associate

    Henrique Ferreira (he/him) is the Development Associate at the Center for WorkLife Law. Henrique assists in managing outreach and partnerships with external stakeholders, plans special events and oversees long-term projects.

    Before joining WorkLife Law, Henrique worked as a Research Assistant at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education, where he assisted on an international research project documenting the social, professional, and academic experiences of Black educators in Latin America; and at the Black Studies Collaboratory in the Department of African American Studies, where he conducted legal research surrounding Black rebellions as a political tool vis-à-vis American institutions and laws, focused on understanding the epistemological and legal barriers that antagonize Black resistance in American history.

    Henrique graduated from UC Berkeley, where he majored in Global Studies with emphasis in Peace and Conflict Studies in the American Continent, and minored in Race & the Law and Public Policy. Henrique is passionate about being an impactful actor of social change by learning and understanding institutions and how they operate, and thinking creatively of how to design critical responses and alternatives to problems of inequality in society — a passion that originates from his personal experience as an Afro-Latino immigrant, as well his academic interests.

  • Juliana Franco Headshot 2

    Juliana FrancoView

    Staff Attorney

    Juliana Franco (she/her/ella) is a Staff Attorney at the Center for WorkLife Law. As a first-generation American and grand-daughter of a Bracero, Juliana has dedicated herself to supporting the rights of workers from underserved backgrounds, particularly immigrant, low-wage communities.

    Juliana leads the Center’s project Dar a Luz: Legal Rights for Farmworkers in Pregnancy and Postpartum, a partnership with the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) that works to expand access to income replacement and leave in California for farmworkers facing exposure to pesticides during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Growing up, Juliana heard stories about the dehumanizing conditions her grandfather faced as a farmworker in California, so she has been motivated by her late grandfather’s lessons and her own experience as someone who has been pregnant and is now a mother. She believes that providing farmworkers with options during pregnancy and postpartum so they can protect their health and their children’s health will disrupt a harmful cycle that disproportionately impacts these largely immigrant and Indigenous-language-speaking communities.

    Juliana has helped hundreds of workers who have called WorkLife Law’s legal helplines, and many more by collaborating with the California Employment Development Department (EDD) to change the broader landscape of workers’ rights in California. Through trainings and clinics, Juliana has educated workers, health care providers, advocates, and the community about reasonable accommodations for pregnancy and breastfeeding, leaves of absence, anti-discrimination, and wages. Juliana has developed bilingual trainings for community health workers that make legal information and supports more accessible to workers facing language barriers and geographic isolation.

    In 2020, just days after giving birth to her son, Juliana was honored as one of the first recipients of the Jackie Speier Women of Courage Award. She was recognized for her tireless work to protect the legal rights of low-wage workers, including the services she provided on WorkLife Law’s COVID-19 free legal helpline and her efforts to support California farmworkers. Juliana’s dedication to advocating for pregnant, postpartum, and caregiving workers has also been recognized by her peers – she was recently elected to serve on the Steering Committee for the California Work and Family Coalition, a statewide alliance of advocates dedicated to making paid leave and workplace supports accessible to all caregivers.

    Prior to joining WorkLife Law, Juliana worked as an attorney in the Wage Protection and Work and Family Programs at Legal Aid at Work (formerly the Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center). Juliana has been published in the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health and Public Health Reports, and has been featured on the Milk Minute, a lactation education podcast. Juliana is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and received her J.D. from the University of California College of the Law, San Francisco (formerly known as the University of California, Hastings College of the Law) with a concentration in health law and policy through the UCSF – UC Law Consortium on Law, Science, and Health Policy.

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    Rebeca GarciaView

    Communications and Grants Manager

    Rebeca Garcia (they/she) is the Communications and Grants Manager at the Center for WorkLife Law. They work closely with senior leadership to develop and execute WorkLife Law’s communications strategy and grant fundraising goals.

    Prior to joining WorkLife Law, they worked as a communications specialist and workers’ rights policy advocate with the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE), a community organization advancing economic and social justice for working class and immigrant community members. During their time with CAUSE, Rebeca sharpened their writing skills for a variety of audiences, from indigenous farmworkers to grasstops advocates to county boards of supervisors. Rebeca also created graphics, produced accessible language, and managed the social media for Dar a Luz: Legal Rights for Farmworkers in Pregnancy and Postpartum, a collaborative initiative between WorkLife Law and CAUSE.

    Rebeca graduated with a degree in Communication Studies from Westmont College, where they actively organized with their peers around matters of racial justice. Rebeca is a neurodivergent, non-binary Oaxacalifornian (which refers to their transnational identity), and these intersecting identities drive them to fight for a just community for all people.

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    Jenna GerryView

    Senior Counsel

    Jenna Gerry is a Senior Counsel at the Center for WorkLife Law, where she assists workers through WorkLife Law’s free legal helpline so they can take care of themselves and their loved ones without risking their economic security.

    Prior to joining the Center, Jenna was a nationally-recognized unemployment insurance expert with the National Employment Law Project (NELP), where she supported NELP’s efforts to end systemic racism in our social insurance system by working with grassroots organizing groups and reformers to develop worker-informed and centered strategies to improve state and federal policies, build worker power, and improve jobless workers’ access to unemployment insurance. She also founded and led the Unemployment Insurance Movement Network.

    Prior to that, Jenna was an attorney with Legal Aid at Work’s Work & Family Program, where she advocated for the rights of pregnant workers, new parents, caregivers, and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. During her time there she provided direct representation, participated in legislative and administrative advocacy to expand family supportive workplace policies, and engaged in community education. She was regularly called upon to testify at the state and local level regarding paid leave and lactation accommodation policies and was instrumental in the passage of the expansion of job protected family and medical leave to millions of Californians.

    Jenna started her legal career in New York working with the Center for Reproductive Rights and clerking for the Honorable Cynthia S. Kern in Manhattan.  She is a graduate of New York University and received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

  • Asma

    Dr. Asma GhaniView

    Research Associate

    Asma Ghani (she/her) is a Research Associate at the Center for WorkLife Law. Asma has a background in Social Psychology with extensive training in experimental and survey research methods. Her research expertise lies in examining how multiple social identities and systems of oppression overlap to create multilayered inequity and how best to mitigate that inequity. She has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.

    Asma received her B.Sc. in Social Sciences from the Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan. She then got her M.S.Ed. in Counseling Education from Indiana University-Bloomington while on the Fulbright Scholarship. Her counseling experiences with underserved populations sparked her interest in researching prejudice and intersectional identities, leading to the pursuit of a Ph.D. She holds a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Harvard University.

  • Rachel Korn

    Dr. Rachel KornView

    Director of Research on Organization Bias

    Rachel Korn (she/her) is the Director of Research at the Center for WorkLife Law. Rachel is a social psychologist specializing in motivation and group dynamics, with a focus on evidence-based interventions. Rachel’s research under the Bias Interrupters initiative advances gender and racial equity in the workplace.

    Rachel partners closely with companies, industry organizations, and academic researchers to investigate how gender and racial bias impact employees in the workplace, and to develop effective solutions to mitigate the effects of bias. With her colleagues, Rachel has guided dozens of organizations through the process of examining their business systems to determine whether bias is playing a role in hiring, performance evaluations, access to opportunities, and informal workplace interactions, and has guided them in making impactful changes to ensure a level playing field for all employees. Rachel has also worked with the Society for Women Engineers, the American Institute of Architects, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, and other organizations to conduct industry-wide studies highlighting the impacts of gender and racial bias.

    Rachel’s writing has appeared in publications ranging from Harvard Business Review and The Atlantic to law reviews, psychology journals, and medical journals.

    Prior to joining WorkLife Law, Rachel was a Research Consultant at Circadia Labs, where she conducted research on empirical projects examining motivation in dreams using natural language processing. She also worked as Research Director for a city council campaign in Rochester, New York. Rachel holds a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Rochester. She received her Bachelor’s degree at Virginia Tech.

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    Jessica LeeView

    Senior Staff Attorney & Pregnant Scholar Initiative Director

    Jessica Lee (she/they) is a Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for WorkLife Law, and Director of the Center’s Pregnant Scholar Initiative, the nationwide legal resource center for pregnant and parenting students. Jessica’s research and advocacy advances gender and racial equity in the workplace and in education, and she is a nationally-recognized expert on the laws at the intersection of employment, education, and maternal and infant health.

    Jessica provides a wide scope of partner organizations with know-your-rights training and strategic tools. Model legislation co-drafted by Jessica has been introduced in Congress and at the state level, she regularly advises state and local enforcement agencies, and Jessica has guided dozens of educational institutions through drafting and implementing family-responsive policies. She also provides know-your-rights resources and trainings to educate parents and change-makers on the legal rights of caregivers in the workplace and in education–translating complicated legal issues into approachable and useful tools for thousands of non-lawyers. During the COVID-19 crisis, Jessica has used her expertise to advance pandemic-related policies to support parents and other caregivers, and she manages the Center’s free legal helpline.

    Jessica’s work has been covered by a variety of press, from the NY Times to the BBC, and her writing has appeared in publications ranging from Harvard Business Review and The Chronicle of Higher Education to law reviews and medical journals.

    Prior to joining the Center, 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.

  • Liz Morris

    Liz MorrisView

    Deputy Director

    Liz Morris (she/her) is the deputy director of the Center for WorkLife Law, where she leads the Center’s legal team to advance gender and racial justice in the workplace and in education. Liz’s advocacy builds legal rights for pregnant and lactating people, parents, and family caregivers struggling to take care of their loved ones while making ends meet. Liz is a nationally recognized expert in the employment laws intersecting gender, reproductive health, and family care.

    Liz partners closely with grassroots advocates, healthcare providers, and public officials to develop policy solutions to racial and gender disparities in economic security, health, and wellbeing. With her colleagues, Liz drafted model legislation that has been introduced around the country to promote the economic security of family caregivers. She has been called to testify on multiple occasions as an expert witness in the California legislature. Government agencies and courts have adopted novel legal theories developed by Liz and the WorkLife Law team expanding rights for working families. Liz also directly counsels workers and students in crisis through WorkLife Law’s free legal helpline, which supports thousands.

    Liz’s writing has been featured in The New York Times, L.A. Times, Harvard Business Review, and Slate. She speaks frequently at conferences, has appeared on NPR and television, and is regularly quoted by media ranging from The Washington Post and PBS NewsHour to Working Mother and Elle. Liz also coauthored WorkLife Law’s 2019 report, Exposed: Discrimination Against Breastfeeding Workers, which provided the rallying cry for the 2022 PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act. This law giving lactation rights at work to nursing parents nationwide was based on model legislation drafted by Liz and her colleagues. She is proud of her leadership in the broad coalition that successfully advocated for the bill’s passage.

    In the first part of her career, Liz represented working people in class action lawsuits challenging abusive employment practices and unions in the labor movement. Liz co-taught Advanced Employment Law for six years at the University of California Law, SF. She is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College and received her J.D. from Stanford Law School.

    Liz’s greatest achievement, challenge, and source of joy has been raising her two young children with her husband.

  • Sasha Nasir Headshot

    Sasha NasirView

    Legal Services Funders Network Fellow

    Sasha Nasir (she/her) is the Legal Services Funders Network (LSFN) fellow at the Center for WorkLife Law, where she works with the Center’s attorneys to prevent and respond to discrimination against workers and students who are pregnant or providing care to a family member.

    Sasha graduated from UC Law SF in 2024 with a concentration in social justice lawyering. Throughout her academic and professional journey, she has worked on a broad range of public interest issues, including gender and racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, disability rights, reproductive rights, and immigrants’ rights. During law school, Sasha served in student government, participated in the Refugee & Human Rights Clinic, interned at the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and worked at the ACLU of NorCal on the Gender, Sexuality & Reproductive Justice team.

    Sasha is originally from North Hollywood, CA and was involved in various forms of student advocacy focused on LGBTQ+ student welfare at Los Angeles Valley Community College. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a major in Feminist Studies and a minor in Professional Writing for Civic Engagement. Sasha has been involved with the entertainment industry since the age of 11, when she hosted her own children’s program and starred in television dramas. She is still an active member of the SAG-AFTRA union. In her spare time, she enjoys playing video games and reading.

  • Joan Williams Photo

    Joan C. WilliamsView

    Founding Director

    Described as having “something approaching rock star status” in her field by The New York Times Magazine, Joan C. Williams (she/her) has played a central role in reshaping the conversation about work, gender, and class over the past quarter century. Williams is a Sullivan Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Center for WorkLife Law. Williams’ path-breaking work helped create the field of work-family studies and modern workplace flexibility policies.

    Williams’ 2014 book What Works for Women at Work (co-written with daughter Rachel Dempsey) was praised by The New York Times Book Review: “Deftly combining sociological research with a more casual narrative style, What Works for Women at Work offers unabashedly straightforward advice in a how-to primer for ambitious women.” Following its success, Sheryl Sandberg and LeanIn.org asked Joan to create short videos sharing the strategies discussed in the book. The videos have been downloaded over 975,000 times and are featured by Virgin Airlines as in-flight entertainment, seen literally around the world. Williams co-authored a workbook companion to What Works for Women at Work, available now from NYU Press.

    Williams founded Gender Bias Bingo, a web-based project aimed at providing information and tools on gender bias to professors. Williams has explored the parallels and differences between gender and racial bias in two reports. The first, “Double Jeopardy? Gender Bias Against Women in Science” has been shared over 40,000 times in the media, and the second, “Climate Control? Gender and Racial Bias in Engineering” was co-authored by the Society for Women Engineers and surveyed over 3,000 engineers.

    Williams is one of most influential legal scholars in US (by h-index) and the 11th most cited scholar in both critical theory and employment law. She has authored 11 books, over 100 academic articles, and her work has been covered in publications from Oprah Magazine to The Atlantic and Slate to Fox News. Her awards include the Best Paper Award for “Responsible Research in Operations Management,” Academy of Management Journal (2022), the Families and Work Institute’s Work Life Legacy Award (2014), the American Bar Foundation’s Outstanding Scholar Award (2012), the ABA’s Margaret Brent Women Award for Lawyers of Achievement (2006), and the Distinguished Publication Award of the Association for Women in Psychology (2004) (with Monica Biernat and Faye Crosby). In 2008, she gave the Massey Lectures in the History of American Civilization at Harvard. Her Harvard Business Review article, “What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S. Working Class” has been read over 3.7 million times and is now the most read article in HBR’s 90-plus year history. Her TED talk, “Why Corporate Diversity Programs Fail – and How Small Tweaks Can Have a Big Impact” was viewed over 1.2 million times. Her most recent book, Bias Interrupted: Creating Inclusion For Real and For Good (Harvard Business Review Press, 2021), offers a fresh approach to inclusion that is concrete, evidenced-based and actionable. She is the author of White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America.

Key Affiliates

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  • Cynthia Thomas Calvert

    Cynthia Thomas CalvertView

    Cynthia Thomas Calvert (she/her), 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 & supplement 2016). 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.).

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