Our Team

Staff

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    Pem BrownView

    Administrative and Accounting Associate

    Pem Brown (he/him) is the Administrative and Accounting Associate at the Center for WorkLife Law.

    Pem has twenty years professional experience in the progressive non-profit sector spanning fundraising, communications, policy analysis, people/human resources, and operations. Pem spent more than twelve years working full-time at M+R, a professional services firm that supports mission-driven non-profits. Prior to M+R, Pem spent five years working with NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts (now Reproductive Equity Now) spearheading much of their fundraising and digital communications.

    Pem has a joint Master in Public Policy and Master of Arts in Women’s and Gender Studies from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, where he wrote his capstone paper about a policy framework to support care work in Massachusetts. Pem also has a Bachelor of Arts from Amherst College.

  • Cynthia Thomas Calvert

    Cynthia Thomas CalvertView

    Senior Advisor

    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.).

  • Juliana Franco Headshot 2

    Juliana FrancoView

    Senior Staff Attorney

    Juliana Franco (she/her/ella) is a Senior 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.

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    Jessica LeeView

    Co-Director

    Jessica Lee (she/they) is Co-Director of the Center for WorkLife Law, and leads 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.

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  • Liz Morris

    Liz MorrisView

    Co-Director

    Liz Morris (she/her) is the Co-Director of the Center for WorkLife Law, where she leads the Center’s legal team to advance gender and racial justice in the workplace. 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.

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