Wendy Greene Frances Lewis Scholar in Residence


Office: Lewis Hall


BA, Xavier University

JD, Tulane University

LLM, The George Washington University Law School

Areas of Expertise

Comparative Slavery and Race Relations Law, Comparative Equality/Antidiscrimination Law, U.S. Constitutional Law and History, Civil Rights Movements, Critical Race Theory, Employment Law, Employment Discrimination


Professor Greene is the Lewis Law Center Scholar in Residence. The daughter of American civil rights activists, Professor Greene is a leading U.S. anti-discrimination law scholar, teacher and advocate. Greene is a graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana (cum laude, B.A. with honors in English and a double minor in African American studies and Spanish); Tulane University Law School (J.D.); and The George Washington University School of Law (LL.M.) where she specialized in comparative slavery and race relations law in the Americas and Caribbean and employment discrimination law. Prior to law teaching, Greene, a South Carolina native, was employed with a Washington, D.C. lobbying firm and a Houston, Texas boutique labor and employment law firm.

Cited globally, Greene's award-winning legal scholarship interrogates the ways socio-legal constructions of identity inform and constrain civil rights protections against inequality. Through her breakthrough legal analyses of emerging forms of workplace discrimination at the intersection of race, color, gender, religion, and national origin, Greene has coined two recognized terms in the field of labor and employment law - "misperception discrimination" and "grooming codes discrimination" - while steadily influencing civil rights jurisprudence, litigation, legislation, and discourse. Her internationally recognized work in these areas has shaped the enforcement stance of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), administrative law judges, federal courts, and civil rights organizations in civil rights cases and serves as source material for published educational modules and professional training on workplace diversity and inclusion. Notably, in 2016, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals quoted Greene's article, Title VII: What's Hair (and Other Race-Based Characteristics) Got to Do With It?), in EEOC v. Catastrophe Management Solutions, Inc.as legal authority on the social construction of race. One of the foremost experts on grooming codes discrimination, Professor Greene is currently developing her first book, #FreeTheHair: Locking Black Hair to Civil Rights Movements(under contract with the University of California-Berkeley Press), which will be the first to examine what she calls the "hyper-regulation of Black women's and girls' bodies via their hair" in public and private spaces alongside natural hair movements through a global lens.

Greene's expertise on racial inequality extends beyond the United States, as she is one of few U.S. legal scholars actively engaged in the comparative study of racial slavery and race relations in the Americas and Caribbean. She has traveled the world, delivering more than 100 presentations on myriad issues involving race, color, and gender equity in the United States and abroad. A highly sought after commentator on current trends in workplace discrimination law, equity, and inclusion, Greene frequently addresses and advises student, professional, civic and civil rights organizations on such matters. 

Since joining the Cumberland faculty in 2007, Greene has taught nine courses: Constitutional Law I, Constitutional Law II, Employment Law, Employment Discrimination, Equitable Remedies, Real Property and seminars on Critical Race Theory, Race and American Law, and Grooming Codes/Appearance Discrimination in the Workplace. For her innovative teaching and scholarship, Greene has garnered national and institutional recognition. In 2011, she was conferred the Harvey S. Jackson Excellence in Teaching Award for Upper Level Courses. In 2014, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine named Greene one of its "Emerging Scholars"-a distinction saluting 12 "path-breaking scholars"-and from nearly 300 nominees, her alma mater, Xavier University of Louisiana, selected her as one of its inaugural young alumni award recipients. In 2015,  Greene's article, Categorically Black, White, or Wrong: "Misperception Discrimination" and the State of Title VII Protection, was awarded the Law and Society Association John Hope Franklin Prize: a national honor celebrating "exceptional scholarship in the field of Race, Racism, and the Law." Greene is also a three-time winner of Cumberland's Lightfoot, Franklin, & White Award for Best Faculty Scholarship, having earned this recognition for her publications in 20092014 and 2018.

Due to her cutting-edge teaching, scholarship, and public advocacy, Greene has also earned the unique privilege of serving as an inaugural visiting scholar at the University of California-Irvine School of Law's Center on Law, Equality, and Race (CLEaR) in 2018; as Scholar in Residence at Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law in 2015; and the Inaugural Scholar in Residence at St. Thomas University School of Law (Miami) in 2014. She has served as a visiting professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law and the University of Iowa College of Law. In the spring of 2019, Greene will be a visiting professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law.

In addition to maintaining a dynamic teaching and scholarly agenda, between 2012 and 2014 Greene served as Cumberland's director of faculty development and between 2010 and 2012 as co-chair of Cumberland's faculty development committee. Over the past decade, she has also spearheaded countless professional programs domestically and internationally. Currently, Greene is an executive committee member of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section on employment discrimination, a member of the editorial board of the Employee Rights and Employment Law Policy Journal housed at Chicago-Kent College of Law, and a member of the Lutie Lytle Black Women Law Faculty Writing Workshop Program planning committee. Greene is a past chair of the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education and has previously served on the ACLU of Alabama Board of Directors, the 2015 American Society for Legal History Program Committee, the Birmingham Civil Rights Summer Voting Rights Series Steering Committee, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Human Rights Symposium Community Advisory Committee, the National Bar Association Law Professors Division Executive Committee, the National Chair's Education Task Force for the National Black Law Students Association, and the Southeast/Southwest People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference Executive Committee. Like with her teaching and scholarship, Professor Greene has earned recognition for her committed public service and engagement on international, national and local levels.

Recent Publications

#FreeTheHair: Locking Black Hair to Civil Rights Movements (Forthcoming book under contract with the University of California-Berkeley Press)

Rewritten Opinion of EEOC v. Catastrophe Management Solutions for Feminist Judgments: Employment Discrimination Opinions Rewritten, Edited by Ann McGinley and Nicole Porter (Forthcoming, Cambridge University Press)

Splitting Hairs: The 11thCircuit's Take on Workplace Bans against Natural Hair in EEOC v. Catastrophe Management Solutions, 71 Miami L. Rev. 987 (2017)

To Be Aggrieved by "Misperception Discrimination," 97 Bulletin of Comparative Labour Relations 3, Improving Workplace Quality: New Perspectives and Challenges for Worker Well-Being, Edited by William Bromwich & Olga Rymkevich (Kluwer Law International 2017) (Lead Chapter)