Research Topics

Work and organizations, inequality, sex and race/ethnic employment discrimination, law and society, legal mobilization, quantitative methods

Research Interests

Hirsh’s research is in the areas of organizations, inequality, and the law.  Much of her work focuses on employment discrimination and the impact of antidiscrimination laws and corporate diversity policies on gender, race, and ethnic inequality in the workplace. Current projects include a study of the economic, political, and organizational conditions under which employment discrimination lawsuits filed under U.S. civil rights laws bring about change in sex and race inequality in the workplace; a qualitative account of the factors that lead workers to file employment discrimination lawsuits based on interviews with plaintiffs in recent high-profile lawsuits; and an analysis of the impact of corporate diversity policies on levels of workplace sex and race inequality and discrimination disputes at work.

Selected Publications

2017. “Mandating Change: The Impact of Court-Mandated Policy Changes on Managerial Diversity,” Industrial and Labor Relations Review 70(1):42-72. (with Youngjoo Cha)

2016. “Workplace Regulation of Sexual Harassment and Federal and State-Level Legal Environments,” Research in the Sociology of Work 29(1):215-240. (with Julie Kmec and Sheryl Skaggs)

2014. “Discrimination Lawsuits and Corporate Stock Prices.” Social Currents 2:40-57. (with Youngjoo Cha)

2013. “Beyond Treatment and Impact: A Context-Oriented Approach to Employment Discrimination.”  American Behavioral Scientist 58(2):256-73.

2010.  “Perceiving Discrimination on the Job: Legal Consciousness, Workplace Context, and the Construction of Race Discrimination.  Law and Society Review 44(2):269-298. (with Christopher Lyons)

2009. “The Strength of Weak Enforcement: The Impact of Discrimination Charges on Sex and Race Segregation in the Workplace.” American Sociological Review 74(2):245-71.

2008. “Settling for Less? The Organizational Determinants of Discrimination-Charge Outcomes.” Law and Society Review 42(2):239-274.

2008. “The Context of Discrimination: Workplace Conditions, Institutional Environments, and Sex and Race Discrimination Charges” American Journal of Sociology 113(5):1394-1432. (with Sabino Kornrich)


Recent Presentations

“Mandating Change? The Origins and Impact of Employment Discrimination Lawsuits,” Center for the Study of Law and Society, University of California, Berkeley, CA, March 2017.

Oral Testimony on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Proposal to Collect Compensation Data from Private Employers, Commissioners Meeting, U.S. Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission, Washington, D.C., March 2016.

“Mandating Change? The Impact of Mandated Policy Changes on Managerial Diversity,” Industrial and Labor Relations School, Cornell University, New York, NY, June 2015.

“Do Lawsuits Matter? Employment Discrimination Litigation and Corporate Diversity,” Population Research Group, University of Victoria. March 2014.

“The Impact of Civil Rights Law at Work,” Presidential Panel, Pacific Sociological Association, Portland, Oregon, March 2014.

“For Law and Markets: The Effect of Discrimination Lawsuits on Managerial Diversity,” University of Chicago Booth School of Business, February 2014.

“The Rule of the State: The Link between State Equal Employment Law and Workplace Sexual Harassment Training Programs,” presented at the American Sociological Association annual meetings, August 2013, (w/ Julie Kmec).

“Litigating for Change?”  presented at the Law and Society Speaker Series, University of British Columbia, February 14, 2013.

See below, or click here for pdf


Ph.D., University of Washington, 2006

Other Affiliations

Canada Research Chair in Law and Inequality
Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies Early Career Scholar and Faculty Associate