Melissa 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 as well as reductions in force.
Melissa served as a Human Resources Director for 10 years before entering law school and has the advantage of understanding the employers' perspective first-hand.
Melissa's practice is proactive and her success lies in keeping clients out of court and away from claims. Melissa is named in Best Lawyers in America and in Super Lawyers for Employment and Labor Law. She was named as Lawyer of the Year in Employment and Labor Law by Best Lawyers in America. She was honored as Boss of the Year by NALS of Lansing.
Melissa works diligently to anticipate issues her clients 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, authored an article entitled “Components of Effective Employment Agreements” for Inside the Minds, published by Aspatore and regularly speaks on these issues.
Honors & Recognitions
Best Lawyers® 2014 Employment Law - Management "Lawyer of the Year" in Lansing
Best Lawyers in America® 2011-2017 (Labor and Employment Law)
Michigan Super Lawyers 2013-2016 (Employment & Labor)
Boss of the Year, Lansing Legal Support Professionals Association (1996)
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
- ACADEMIC POSITION: 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
- Child and Family Services, Board of Directors
- Okemos Radmoor Montessori School, Board of Directors
- 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.
Recent Blog Posts
Health Care Law Blog
- Nationwide Right to Same-Sex Marriage: Employee Benefit Implications, Foster Swift Employment, Labor & Benefits News, June 30, 2015
- The End is Here…How to End the Employment Relationship, Foster Swift Business & Corporate Law News, March 27, 2015
- Ebola and the Workplace: What Employers Need to Know and Do, Foster Swift Employment, Labor & Benefits E-News, November 6, 2014
- Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!, Foster Swift Employment, Labor & Benefits E-News, October 28, 2014
- Best Practices Agricultural Businesses Should Follow When Creating or Revising an Employee Handbook, Foster Swift Agricultural Law Update, October 15, 2014
- ALERT: Michigan’s Minimum Wage Goes Up 9/1/14, Foster Swift Business & Corporate Law Report, August 28, 2014
News & Events
- 29 Foster Swift Attorneys Selected to 2016 Michigan Super Lawyers and Michigan Rising Stars Lists, September 2, 2016
- 21 Foster Swift Attorneys named to 2015 Michigan Super Lawyers and Michigan Rising Stars, September 8, 2015
- 44 Foster Swift Attorneys Named to 2016 Best Lawyers in America® Roster, August 21, 2015
- 2014 Michigan Super Lawyers and Michigan Rising Stars, September 5, 2014
- 45 Foster Swift attorneys named to 2015 Best Lawyers in America® roster, August 19, 2014
- Best Lawyers® Name Five Foster Swift Attorneys "Lawyer of the Year", September 20, 2013
- Thirty-one Foster Swift Attorneys included in Super Lawyers for 2013, September 6, 2013
- Effective Human Resource Record Keeping, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, January 21, 2016
- Employee Discipline, Reduction-in-Force, and Termination, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, April 14, 2015
- Legal Update on Employee Issues and Seasonal Employee Options, Michigan Agri-Business Association Winter Conference & Trade Show, January 12, 2015
- Employee Handbooks Workshop - Create or Revise Your Personnel Policy Manual, Michigan Chamber, November 6, 2014
- Handbook Policies - What you Must Include, What you Should Include, What to Avoid, Michigan Osteopathic Assocation, November 1, 2014
- Hiring-to-Termination: Termination & Layoff Practices, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, November 13, 2012
Wayne State University Law School, J.D., 1989, cum laude
Wittenberg University, B.A., 1974
Bar and Court Admissions
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan