- (812) 856-1435
- Baier Hall 346
- Yale University B.A. 1994
- Yale University J.D. 1999
Professor Deborah Widiss’s research and teaching focuses on employment law, family law, statutory interpretation, 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 journals, including the Boston University Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Minnesota Law Review, Texas Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Yale Law Journal Forum, the Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal, 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 two Indiana University Trustees’ Teaching awards. 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, where she was an Equal Justice Works fellow. 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
- Quoted in "How a law to protect pregnant workers united the Chamber of Commerce and ACLU," Barron's ( 10-14-2023 )
- Mentioned in "Paid Family Leave Is No Child's Play," The Regulatory Review ( 11-06-2021 )
- Interviewed in "The fight for guaranteed pregnant worker accommodations," WFYI ( 04-06-2021 )
- Quoted in "Baby steps," The Journal Gazette ( 02-17-2021 )
- Quoted in "Pregnant worker bill passes committee, but not what advocates hoped for," Indiana Public Media ( 02-09-2021 )
- The Federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act: Essential Support, Especially in Post-Dobbs America, __ EMPLOYEE RIGHTS AND EMPLOYMENT POLICY JOURNAL __ (forthcoming 2023)
- Privatizing Family Leave Policy: Assessing the New Opt-In Insurance Model, 53 SETON HALL LAW REVIEW 1543 (2023) (JOTWELL review by Elizabeth Tippett).
- Proving Discrimination by the Text, 106 MINNESOTA LAW REVIEW 353 (2021).
- Chosen Family, Care, and the Workplace, 131 YALE LAW JOURNAL FORUM 215 (2021).
- Equalizing Parental Leave, 105 MINNESOTA LAW REVIEW 2175 (2021) (JOTWELL review by Chao-Je Chen).
- 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 723 (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
- New Federal Law Ensures Pregnant Employees Can Get Support at Work, ABA HUMAN RIGHTS MAGAZINE, Vol. 49, No. 1/2 (October 2023).
- New Law Limits Mandatory Arbitration in Cases Involving Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment, ABA LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW NEWSLETTER (Fall 2022)
- How “Neutral” Are Gender Neutral Paid Parental Leave Policies? POWER TO PERSUADE (July 2021).
- 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).
Areas of Expertise
- Employment discrimination
- Family law
- Women's issues