- (812) 856-1435
- Baier Hall 259
- B.A., Yale University 1994
- J.D., Yale University 1999
Professor Deborah Widiss’s research and teaching focuses on employment law, family law, the legislative process, and the significance of gender and gender stereotypes in the development of law and government policy. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in leading law reviews and journals in other disciplines, including the Minnesota Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the Texas Law Review, the Washington University Law Review, the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, the Journal of Legal Studies and the Journal of Family Theory and Review.
Professor Widiss has received several awards and grants for her research. In 2018, she received a Fulbright Senior Scholar grant to study Australia’s paid parental leave program as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Melbourne Law School. She has won the Association of American Law Schools Outstanding Scholarly Paper Award, recognizing the best paper submitted by a junior faculty member at an AALS-member law school; two separate Dukeminier Awards, recognizing the best law review article on sexual orientation published in the previous year; and the Feldman Award, recognizing a peer-reviewed journal article that makes a significant social policy contribution related to gender in families. She has also received an Indiana University Trustees’ Teaching Award. Professor Widiss has served as Chair of the AALS Employment Discrimination Section and as a member of the executive committee of the AALS Legislation Section.
Professor Widiss has been quoted as an expert on issues relating to employment discrimination, same-sex marriage, and domestic violence by numerous media outlets, including the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the Washington Post. She has published op-eds on The Atlantic’s website and Huffington Post. She has also lectured or testified on these subjects to federal and state judges, legislators, attorneys, human resources professionals, and local human rights agencies.
Professor Widiss joined the IU Maurer School of Law faculty in 2009. Before transitioning to academia, Professor Widiss was an attorney at Legal Momentum (formerly NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund), where she was a national expert on the intersection between domestic violence and employment. In this capacity, she drafted federal and state legislation, consulted regularly with employers, and litigated cases on behalf of individual victims of domestic violence. She also authored several amicus briefs in support of marriage rights for same-sex couples. Earlier in her career, Widiss worked for the Campaign for Fiscal Equity on reform of the financing of public schools and for Lawyers Alliance for New York. She clerked for Judge Allyne R. Ross of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Widiss received a J.D. and a B.A. from Yale University. She was appointed associate dean for research and faculty affairs in 2019.
In the media
- Interviewed about "Supreme Court: Civil Rights Act protects LGBTQ workers from discrimination," Indiana Public Media (6/15/2020)
- Wrote an op-ed titled "Parental leave laws don't do enough for single moms -- but there's a way to fix that," Winston-Salem (NC) Journal (5/6/2020) and in Indy Midtown Magazine
- Wrote an op-ed titled "A missed opportunity for working moms-to-be," The Journal-Gazette (Fort Wayne, Ind.) (2/7/2020)
- Quoted in "Attorneys see broader impact of pending ADEA federal-sector causation ruling," Thomson Reuters Westlaw (1/28/2020)
- Wrote an essay titled "Parental leave laws are failing single parents," The Conversation (1/14/2020) and in Houston Chronicle
- Quoted in "Why the Supreme Court is hearing a TV mogul's $20 billion racial bias case against Comcast," yahoo! Finance (11/9/2019)
- Quoted in "Rolled-back federal overtime expansion may have little local impact," The (Bloomington) Herald-Times (subscription) (9/28/2019)
- Quoted in "High court weakens employer defense to job bias claims," Bloomberg (6/3/2019)
- Describes "The Cradle Act (at 39:32)," Iowa Public Radio (3/14/2019)
- Equalizing Parental Leave, 105 MINNESOTA LAW REVIEW ___ (forthcoming 2021).
- The Hidden Gender of Gender-Neutral Paid Parental Leave: Examining Recently-Enacted Laws in the United States and Australia, 41 COMPARATIVE LABOR LAW AND POLICY JOURNAL ___ (forthcoming 2021) (JOTWELL review by Naomi Cahn).
- After the Override: An Empirical Analysis of Shadow Precedent (with Brian J. Broughman), 46 JOURNAL OF LEGAL STUDIES 51 (2017).
- Intimate Liberties and Antidiscrimination Law, 97 BOSTON UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW 2083 (2017) (Dukeminier Award; JOTWELL review by Douglas NeJaime).
- Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Relationships: New Possibilities for Research on the Role of Marriage Law in Household Labor Allocation, 8 JOURNAL OF FAMILY THEORY & REVIEW 10 (2016) (Feldman Award).
- Gilbert Redux: The Interaction of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Amended Americans with Disabilities Act, 46 U.C. DAVIS L. REV 961 (2013).
- Undermining Congressional Overrides: The Hydra Problem in Statutory Interpretation, 90 TEX. L. REV. 859 (2012).
- Changing the Marriage Equation, 89 WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW 721 (2012) (JOTWELL review by Kerry Abrams).
- Equal Access and the Right to Marry, 158 U. PA. L. REV. 1375 (2010) (with Nelson Tebbe).
- Shadow Precedents and the Separation of Powers: Statutory Interpretation of Congressional Overrides, 84 NOTRE DAME L. REV. 511 (2009) (AALS Outstanding Scholarly Paper Award).
- Exposing Sex Stereotypes in Recent Same-Sex Marriage Jurisprudence, 30 HARV. J.L. & GENDER 461 (2007) (with Elizabeth N. Rosenblatt & Douglas NeJaime) (Dukeminier Award).
Op-eds and Blog Entries
- Parental Leave Laws Don’t Do Enough for Single Moms—But There’s a Way to Fix That, THE CONVERSATION (May 2020).
- Communication Breakdown: How Courts Do – and Don’t – Respond to Statutory Overrides, JUDICATURE (APRIL 2020).
- Op-ed: A missed opportunity for working moms-to-be, THE JOURNAL-GAZETTE (Fort Wayne, Ind.) (Feb. 2020).
- Op-ed: How Walmart's 'Support' for Pregnant Employees Falls Short, THE HUFFINGTON POST (April 2014).
- Op-ed: Marriage Policy Encourages One Spouse to Stay Home and the Other to Work: How Will this Affect Same-Sex Couples As They Gain More and More Legal Rights?, THEATLANTIC.COM, (June 2013).
- Why Marriage Isn’t an Equal Partnership, THE HUFFINGTON POST (March 2012) (interview by Huffington Post blogger Vicki Larson).
- Family law
- Employment discrimination
- Women's issues
- Legislation and statutory interpretation