Ryan H. Nelson

Assistant Professor of Law

B.S.B.A., University of Florida
J.D., Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
LL.M., Harvard Law School

Areas of Expertise

  • Civil Procedure
  • Employment Law and Discrimination
  • LGBTQ+ Legal Issues



Office: 753

Ryan H. Nelson joined the faculty at South Texas College of Law Houston in 2021. His research focuses on leveraging the civil litigation and other dispute resolution systems to advance the rights of poor and other marginalized workers, most often with respect to discrimination, harassment, wages, leaves of absence, and accommodations. His scholarship has been published or is forthcoming in the Michigan Law Review, Fordham Law Review, BYU Law Review, Tennessee Law Review, Pepperdine Law Review, Yale Law and Policy Review, and the online companions to the NYU Law Review, California Law Review, and Vanderbilt Law Review. He has advised state attorneys’ general offices and other administrative agencies on employment law reforms and helped to draft associated proposed legislation and regulations. Moreover, he has provided legal commentary for Fox 26 Houston and in periodicals like Slate, USA Today, and the Houston Chronicle.

Before joining South Texas, Ryan completed a research fellowship with the Harvard Law School Project on Disability and taught on the adjunct faculty at Boston University School of Law, New England Law | Boston, and New York Law School. He also spent nearly a decade practicing labor and employment law, including as in-house employment law counsel for one of the world’s largest financial services companies and as an attorney with one of the top labor and employment law firms in the country where he specialized in workplace affirmative action law. He obtained his LL.M. from Harvard Law School where he was awarded the Irving Oberman Memorial Prize for Best Paper on Law and Social Change; his J.D., cum laude, from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, where he served on the Editorial Board of the Moot Court Honor Society; and his B.S.B.A. with a major in economics from the University of Florida where he was a National Merit Scholar and became an avid fan of Florida Gators football.

In his free time, Ryan enjoys trivia (he loves pub trivia and has appeared as a contestant on Jeopardy!Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, and The Hustler), karaoke (with a preference for country music and musical theater), and board games (his favorites include Pandemic Legacy, Hansa Teutonica, Sushi Go Party!, Ticket to Ride, and Chess).


An Employment Discrimination Class Action by Any Other Name, 91 Fordham L. Rev. 1425 (2023).

Workplace Harasser Liability: Assailing Moral Hazards and Rehabilitating the Individualist Approach, 89 Tenn. L. Rev. 957 (2022), (available on SSRN)

Substantive Pay Equality: Tips, Commissions, and How to Remedy the Pay Disparities They Inflict, 40 Yale L. & Pol’y Rev. 149 (2021). Winner of the 2020 Harvard Law School Irving Oberman Memorial Prize for Best Paper on Law and Social Change

Now and Again: Reappraising Disability Leave as an Accommodation, 46 BYU L. Rev. 1489 (2021).

Erasing Workers’ Identities: Comment On Blanck, Hyseni, and Altunkol Wise’s National Study of the Legal Profession, 47 Am. J.L. & Med. 71 (2021). (with Michael Ashley Stein)

Homegrown Discrimination, 12 Cal. L. Rev. Online 1 (2021).

Feminist Perspectives on Bostock v. Clayton County, 53 Conn. L. Rev. Online 1 (2020). (with Ann C. McGinley, Nicole Buonocore Porter, Danielle Weatherby, Pamela Wilkins, & Catherine Jean Archibald)

Federalizing Direct Paid Leave, 20 U. Pa. J. Bus. L. 623 (2018).

A Diverse Student Body Without Student Bodies?: Online Classrooms and Affirmative Action, 2016 Pepp. L. Rev. 65.

Sexual Orientation Discrimination Under Title VII After Baldwin v. Foxx, 72 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. Online 255 (2015.)

 Breaking the Bank: Why FDIC and NCUA Deposit Insurance Coverage Fails to Trigger OFCCP’s Jurisdiction, 14 Fla. St. U. Bus. Rev. 53 (2015).

 Marriage Equality and the Third Nail in the “Proceed with Caution” Coffin, 90 N.Y.U. L. Rev. Online 17 (2015)

 An Indirect Challenge to the FDA’s “Gay Blood Ban”, 23 Tul. J. L. & Sexuality 1 (2014).

Windsor in the Workplace: Examining an Employer’s Right to Demand More of Gay Employees Who Request FMLA Leave, 118 Pa. St. L. Rev. Penn Statim 1 (2013).

Injury in Fiction, 66 Vand. L. Rev. En Banc 153 (2013).

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Legally-Married Same-Sex Spouses Entitled to Federal Recognition And Lifts California Ban On Same-Sex Marriages, Lexology (2013) (With Michelle E. Phillips et al.)

The Pivotal Role of Human Resources in Business Management: The 1980s to the Present, 40 Emp. Rel. Today 33 (2013) (With Christopher M. Valentino & John J. Porta)

Affirmative Action for LGBT Applicants & Employees: A Proposed Regulatory Scheme, 30 Hofstra J. Lab. & Emp. L. 179 (2012).


Ability Apartheid and Paid Leave, 120 Mich. L. Rev. 1247 (2022) (Reviewing Paul David Harpur, Ableism At Work: Disablement And Hierarchies Of Impairment (2020)) (with Michael Ashley Stein)

Ability Diversity in the First-Year Law School Classroom, 71 J. Leg. Educ. 202 (2021) (reviewing Integrating Doctrine And Diversity: Inclusion and Equity in the Law School Classroom (Nicole P. Dyszlewski et al. eds.)) (with Michael Ashley Stein)


Rewritten Opinion in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, 853 F.3d 339 (7th Cir. 2017) (En Banc), in Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Employment Discrimination Opinions (Ann C. Mcginley & Nicole Buonocore Porter Eds.) (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2020).

Labor Arbitration Awards, in Gender Identity & Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Workplace: A Practical Guide (Christine Michelle Duffy & Denise M. Visconti Eds.) (Arlington, VA: BNA Bloomberg, 2014). (with David G. Islinger & Michelle E. Phillips)


“Respect for Marriage Act” Loophole Highlights Its Limitations, LAW360 (Dec. 5, 2022) (with Edward Stein)

Agency Names Do Not Constrain Agency Powers, Harv. L. & Pol’y Rev. Blog (Oct. 16, 2022).

Oust Guns from Your Workplace, Houston Chronicle (June 9, 2022).

The One Thing the Dissenting Justices Could Do to Save Roe, SLATE (June 1, 2022).

More Just, More Efficient Workplace Regulation, JOTWELL (2022) (reviewing Hiba Hafiz, Interagency Coordination on Labor Regulation, 6 ADMIN. L. REV. ACCORD 199 (2021)).

Biden’s Workplace Vaccine Mandates Don’t Go Far Enough, Houston Chronicle (Sept. 14, 2021).

A Primer on Remedial Workplace Affirmative Action, On Labor Blog (2020).

The Shortcomings of Proposals for an Indexed, Living Minimum Wage, On Labor Blog (2020).

Executive Summary, Federal Court Rejects Challenge to Discriminatory Communications Ban in State Civil Rights Law, 2019 LGBT L. Notes 4.

Executive Summary, Gay Ohio Newspaper Delivery Person’s Title VII Sexual Orientation Claims Survive Motion To Dismiss, 2019 LGBT L. Notes 10.

Executive Summary, Gender Non-Conforming Maine Student’s Title IX Claim Survives, 2019 LGBT L. Notes 16.

Executive Summary, Ohio Appeals Court Reaffirms Prohibition on Same-Sex Sexual Harassment, 2019 LGBT L. Notes 22.

Executive Summary, Gay NYC Building Manager’s Hostile Work Environment and Discharge Claims Survive Dismissal Motion, 2019 LGBT L. Notes 13.

Executive Summary, Upstate New York Village Allegedly Harassed Gay Inn Owners, 2018 LGBT L. Notes 628.

Wielding the Census to Decimate Workplace Diversity for Decades to Come, Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. Amicus Blog (2018).

Executive Summary, Arizona Appeals Court Endorses Parent’s Right to Raise Transgender Child in Accordance With Child’s Gender Identity, 2018 LGBT L. Notes 224.

Executive Summary, Bisexual High School Student’s Equal Protection Claim Proceeds, But Title IX Claim Does Not, 2018 LGBT L. Notes 512.

Executive Summary, Canadian Appeals Court Quashes Sexual Assault Conviction Based On Defendant’s Alleged Failure To Disclose His HIV Status, 2018 LGBT L. Notes 126.

Executive Summary, Lawsuit Alleging NYPD Discriminatorily Enforced Prostitution Loitering Law Against Transgender People Survives Motion to Dismiss, 2018 LGBT L. Notes 65.

Executive Summary, Iowa Supreme Court Finds Refusal to Disqualify A Juror with Admitted Anti-Gay Bias Is (Barely) an Abuse of Discretion, But Harmless Error Nonetheless, 2018 LGBT L. Notes 11.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Legally-Married Same-Sex Spouses Entitled to Federal Recognition and Lifts California Ban on Same-Sex Marriages, LEXOLOGY (2013) (with Michelle E. Phillips et al.)

Dispelling the Top 3 Intern Compensation Myths, NY Metro LGBT Business News Blog (2013).

CV (PDF format)