Melissa joined the firm in 1989 and is a shareholder in the Employment Labor & Benefits Practice Group. Melissa represents employers and is highly experienced in providing employment law counsel on a wide range of matters including: alternative dispute resolution; diversity; unlawful discrimination, and harassment; wrongful discharge: Family Medical Leave Act; Fair Labor Standards Act; Michigan Wages and Fringe Benefits Act; drafting and interpreting policies and procedures, employment contracts and separation agreements; reductions in force; and unemployment compensation. Having served as a Human Resources Director for ten years prior to entering law school, Melissa has the advantage of understanding the employers' perspective first-hand. The majority of Melissa's practice is of a proactive nature as her success lies in keeping clients out of court and away from claims. Melissa is named in Best Lawyers in America for Employment and Labor Law.
Melissa works diligently to anticipate issues the client may face and to keep them informed in changes in the law. Additionally, she is co-author on numerous employment law reference books published by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce for public and private employers and regularly speaks on these issues as well.
· Assisted client in addressing human resource component in a complicated merger transaction between two financial institutions.
· Assisted health care clients with large scale reductions in work force.
· Involvement: Counseled institute of higher learning in termination of high ranking executive and avoided litigation.
· Assisted clients in prevailing in various union arbitrations involving termination of employment.
· Assisted financial institution client in decertification election.
· Successfully went "undercover" working at a restaurant in order to make unlawful harassment presentation more effective.
· Assisted public utility in lawsuit involving a high ranking official's employment contract. Litigated unique legal theory and prevailed at Court of Appeals.
Hiring-to-Termination: Termination & Layoff Practices, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, November 13, 2012
Hiring-to-Termination: Performance Tracking & Discipline Practices, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, October 3, 2012
Hiring-to-Termination: Pre-Employment & Hiring Practices, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, September 6, 2012
Social Networking and Human Resources Hot Topics, Michigan Municipal Treasurers Association Advanced Institute, May 2, 2012
Seasonal or Unseasonal: That is the Question, Michigan Golf Business, November 30, 2011
Developing Internal Policy for use of Social Media, Michigan Association of Township Supervisors, October 19, 2011
Human Resources Essentials Guide: From Hiring to Termination, 5th Edition, Published by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Contributing Author, May 1, 2013
Does A Municipality Really Need A Handbook? Absolutely., Foster Swift Municipal Law News, September 2012
Consider An Employee Handbook, Foster Swift Agricultural Law Update, June 2012
Sharing Exemplifies the Holiday Spirit, Right?... Not this Time!, Foster Swift Employment, Labor & Benefits Quarterly, Winter 2011
I-9 Compliance is a "Hot" Area - How to Avoid Getting Burned, Foster Swift Employment, Labor & Benefits Quarterly, Fall 2011
Social Media Webinar Wrap-Up, Foster Swift Municipal Law News, September 2011
Memberships & Affiliations
· American Bar Association
- Labor and Employment Law Section
· State Bar of Michigan
- Labor and Employment Law Section
- Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
· Ingham County Bar Association
- Labor Law Section
· Women Lawyers Association of Michigan
· Michigan State University College of Law, Adjunct Professor in Employment Law
Industry & Professional Associations:
· Society for Human Resource Management
· Human Resources Association of Mid-Michigan
· Industrial Relations Research Association, Past President
Honors & Recognitions
2014 Best Lawyers® in America Lawyer of the Year: Employment Law - Management
Best Lawyers® in America 2011-2014 (Labor and Employment Law)
Michigan Super Lawyers 2013 (Employment & Labor)
Boss of the Year, Lansing Legal Support Professionals Association (1996)