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Elizabeth Hoffmann

Associate Professor of Sociology, Purdue University
Chapter Member: Indiana SSN
Areas of Expertise:

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About Elizabeth

Hoffmann’s research examines how people understand and relate to the laws and rules that affect their daily lives – what is often called "legal consciousness." Her research focuses on the intersection of the law-and-society and the work-and-occupations areas, often with a particular emphasis on gender. Overarching themes of Dr. Hoffmann's writing include: (1) workplace dispute resolution, (2) organizational responses to employment laws, (3) worker co-operatives, (4) workplace accommodations, (4) historic legal consciousness during and after WWI, and (5) lactating employees.



"Law, Compliance, and Variation: Proximity and Preferences Regarding Workplace Lactation Accommodations" Law and Policy 44, no. 2 (2022): 128-143.

Discusses federal law mandates that employers accommodate lactating workers who wish to express breast milk at work. Reveals physical demands set lactating employees apart from their coworkers, as lactation requires regular breaks and private rooms to express milk.

"Moralizing the Law: Lactating Workers and the Transformation of Supervising Managers" Law and Society Review 56, no. 1 (2022).

Reviews how the Lactation at Work Law amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to mandate employer accomdation of employees' breast milk expression. 

"Lactation at Work Expressed Milk, Expressing Beliefs, and the Expressive Value of Law" (Cambridge University Press, 2021).

Examines the federal law and its state-level equivalent in Indiana, drawing on two waves of interviews with human resource personnel, supervising managers, and lactating workers. Shows legal scholars how a successful civil rights law creates effective change; helps labor activists and management personnel understand how to approach new accommodations; and enables workers to understand the possibilities for amelioration of workplace problems through internal negotiations and legal reforms.

"Allies Already Poised to Comply: How Social Proximity Affects Lactation at Work Law Compliance" Law and Society Review 53, no. 3 (2019): 791-822.

Demonstrates how legal compliance may be better achieved when organizations include individuals who will advocate for newly codified rights and related accommodations.Examines as its case study the Lactation at Work law, which amends the Fair Labor Standards Act to mandate basic provisions for employees to express breast milk at work. 

"Emotions and Emotional Labor at Worker-Owned Businesses: Deep Acting, Surface Acting, and Genuine Emotions" The Sociological Quarterly 57, no. 1 (2016): 152-173.

Discusses how members of worker cooperatives—organizations collectively owned and democratically run by their workers—report substantial differences in how they can or must perform various emotions, compared with previous work at conventional, hierarchical organizations. 

"Co-operative Workplace Dispute Resolution" (Routledge, 2012).

Focuses on dispute resolution strategies at matched pairs of worker co-operatives and conventional businesses in three very different industries: coal mining, taxicab driving, and wholefood distribution. Findings are that the worker co-operative members have access to more dispute resolution strategies than their conventionally employed counterparts. Leads to the conclusion that benefits might be achieved by conventional businesses that wish to embrace specific attributes usually associated with co-operatives, including management-employee cooperation, shared ownership, or greater workplace equality.