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Liz Watson, Senior Counsel and Director of Workplace Justice for Women

Liz Watson, Senior Counsel

Liz Watson is Director of Workplace Justice for Women and Senior Counsel to the Education and Employment and Cross-cutting Teams at the National Women's Law Center. Liz focuses on ending workplace discrimination and combating the erosion of wages and working conditions in jobs at the bottom of the labor market, which are most often held by women. Liz's work includes a particular focus on achieving workplace policies that allow low-wage workers with family responsibilities to both succeed at work and in caring for their families. In 2013, Liz coauthored It Shouldn't Be A Heavy Lift: Fair Treatment for Pregnant Workers, a report highlighting the persistence of pregnancy discrimination against women in low-wage and physically-demanding jobs, and employers' all too frequent failure to accommodate pregnancy in the workplace. Also in 2013, Liz coauthored 50 Years & Counting: The Unfinished Business of Achieving Fair Pay. Before coming to the Center, Liz was Executive Director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy where she led public policy initiatives focused on improving policies and programs that address the needs of low-income workers and marginalized girls and young women. Prior to that, she was legislative counsel for Workplace Flexibility 2010 at Georgetown Law, where much of her work focused on developing policy solutions to work-family conflict and its consequences for low-wage workers. She also practiced employment law at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Liz began her career as a Skadden Public Interest Law Fellow, working with low-wage workers and women receiving public benefits in New York City. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Susan Y. Illston of the Northern District of California. Liz is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Carleton College. 

My Take

The Story Behind the Numbers: The Wage Gap

Tomorrow, the Census Bureau will release new data on poverty, income, and health insurance in the U.S. in 2013. As we get ready to crunch numbers, we thought it would be helpful to take a deeper look at what these numbers tell us — and don’t tell us — about the wage gap.

The typical American woman who works full time, year round was still paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to her male counterpart in 2012. For women of color, the gaps are even larger. This blog post provides details about the wage gap measure that the Census Bureau and the National Women’s Law Center use, factors contributing to the wage gap, and how to shrink the gap.

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Put Your Wage Gap IQ to the Test!

Posted by Liz Watson, Senior Counsel and Director of Workplace Justice for Women | Posted on: September 09, 2014 at 11:51 am

There will likely be a vote in the Senate later this week on the Paycheck Fairness Act. Want to make sure you know what's at stake for women and families? Take this little quiz.

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What Would Make Labor Day So Much Better? Schedules That Work!

Melody Pabon and her four-year-old son MasonLabor Day memorializes laborers’ courageous fights throughout our nation’s history for fair working conditions, starting with battles over long hours, low pay, child labor, and unsafe working conditions in the 1800s and 1900s that led to major advances in all of these areas.

And today, workers are still on the frontlines – fighting for livable wages and for an end to abusive scheduling practices, which are increasingly common in the American workplace. All too often, employers require that workers have completely open availability to be eligible for full-time hours, and cancel and assign shifts at the very last minute. Too many part-time workers simply cannot get enough hours at their jobs to make ends meet.

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Workers Are Making Their Voices Heard in Support of The Schedules That Work Act!

Posted by Liz Watson, Senior Counsel and Director of Workplace Justice for Women | Posted on: July 23, 2014 at 03:54 pm

Yesterday, Representatives Miller and DeLauro and Senators Harkin and Warren introduced the Schedules That Work Act. This groundbreaking legislation would give all Americans a say in when they work and curb the most abusive scheduling practices in certain low-wage jobs. At a congressional briefing, workers from the restaurant, retail and fast food industries explained to a standing room only crowd what it’s like to have no clue what your schedule will be from one day to the next, and why we need the Schedules That Work Act.

Schedules That Work

Schedules That Work Act Press Conference –7.22.14. From Left to Right: Sandy Kossangba (ROC), Representative Rosa DeLauro, Melody Pabon (RAP), Sherry Hamilton-Elder (RWDSU), Tiffany Beroid (OW), Liz Watson (NWLC), Representative George Miller, and Mary Coleman (Wisconsin Jobs NOW).

Here’s what they said:

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Serving Up the Truth About Sexual Harassment, With a Side of Commonsense

Posted by Liz Watson, Senior Counsel and Director of Workplace Justice for Women | Posted on: June 24, 2014 at 10:34 am

Written by Nikki Lewis, Executive Director, DC Jobs with Justice, and Liz Watson, Senior Counsel and Director of Workplace Justice for Women, NWLC

What do you call the person who can make you stay late at work, who decides who works the night shift and who works days, who works the cash register and who cleans the toilets? You call that person the boss. But exactly one year ago today, the Supreme Court said that if the person who directs your daily work harasses you, unless they also have the power to hire and fire you, the strong protections that are supposed to kick in when bosses harass their subordinates do not apply.

Right about now, you might be scratching your head thinking that this doesn’t make any sense. And you would be right. But let us explain how we ended up with this terrible rule and what can be done about it.

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