Veena Dubal’s Gig Economy Work Earns UC Hastings Foundation Award

Professor Veena Dubal has won the UC Hastings Foundation Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholarship. The award from the Foundation Board of Trustees is given annually to a faculty member who has demonstrated scholarly excellence and promise.

Dubal’s work intersects law, technology, and precarious employment. She uses empirical research and critical theory to understand how digital technology is affecting workers, and explores the role of the law and lawyers in solidarity movements.

The California Supreme Court cited Dubal’s work in a landmark decision on worker classification. And she has published in top-tier law review and peer-reviewed journals, including the California Law ReviewWisconsin Law ReviewBerkeley Journal of Empirical and Labor Law, and Perspectives on Politics.

“Veena has worked fiercely and fearlessly on the cutting edge of legal theory and policy,” said Associate Dean for Research Jodi Short. “Her scholarship lays the groundwork for meaningful social change.” For example, her work provided the underpinnings of legislation in California redefining who gets employee protections.

Professor Veena Dubal

Dubal regularly advises regulators and policymakers on misclassification and work law protections for workers in the platform economy and other emerging labor markets. She has had high-level conversations with regulators across the U.S. and Europe.

A leading public intellectual on issues of technology and precarious work, Dubal has been published in The New York Times, The Los Angeles TimesThe Guardian, Slate, and other prominent outlets. She also writes regularly on hot-button issues for the popularly read OnLabor Blog and the Law and Political Economy Blog. Her research has drawn the attention of local, national, and international media and has been featured in documentaries, including When Rules Don’t ApplyCity Rising, and Gig a Uberização do Trabalho.

Academic Dean Morris Ratner said he has received positive feedback since sharing the news of the award with faculty.

“The announcement of the award to Professor Dubal has prompted inspiring reactions from colleagues and students who have praised her courageous scholarship and the deep connection between her research and impactful teaching,” Ratner said.

Dubal first began studying the taxi industry while working as a public interest attorney and Berkeley Law Foundation fellow at the Asian Law Caucus, where she founded a taxi worker project and represented Muslim Americans in civil rights cases. While completing her doctorate at UC Berkeley, she conducted an ethnography of the San Francisco taxi industry.

She joined the UC Hastings faculty in 2015 after a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University.