Melissa approaches each day by asking two simple questions: who have I helped and what have I learned? She strives to serve each client by first listening to their needs and learning their business and culture. This thoughtful approach enables Melissa to provide legal counsel that not only mitigates legal risk but also reflects her clients’ values.
Melissa’s practice is multifaceted. She counsels employers on a wide variety of day-to-day employment and labor issues, including wage and hour law, employee leave issues, reasonable accommodations, workplace harassment, immigration, and reductions-in-force. She assists employers in developing pro-active employee relations programs, including developing employee handbooks and conducting supervisory training. Melissa also defends employers responding to charges before administrative agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.
In addition, Melissa counsels employers on issues relating to data protection and privacy laws, responding to security breaches, workplace surveillance, social media policies, and the protection of trade secrets and other proprietary information.
Prior to joining Fisher Phillips, Melissa was Corporate Counsel and Compliance & Ethics Officer for a global, publicly-traded company. In this role, Melissa developed significant experience advising management on complex international employment and compliance matters. Accordingly, Melissa’s unique perspective helps businesses “connect the dots” between their Human Resources and Compliance functions. Whether it is helping corporations develop effective anti-bribery and anti-corruption policies and due diligence procedures that also comply with seemingly conflicting employment laws, or designing corporate codes of conduct, Melissa’s past experience provides first-hand understanding of the challenges facing today’s employer.
Melissa is proud to call Cleveland home and enjoys spending her free time exploring the city and its parks with her husband and little girl (who they adopted from Ethiopia). She is passionate about helping children reach their full potential and volunteers in the Cleveland public schools and has served as a director for non-profits serving vulnerable children.
Honors & Leadership
Cleveland Bar Association, Ohio State Bar Association, Greater Cleveland Network, Ohio Business Development Leadership Network, Society of Compliance and Ethics Professionals, and International Association of Privacy Professionals
Volunteer, 3Rs, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
Former Board Member, Transracial Journeys, a non-profit supporting adoptive families and promoting cross-racial understanding and dialogue in the community.
Former Board Member, Jaguza Children’s Ministry, a non-profit providing care and education to orphaned and vulnerable children in Uganda.
- New Partners Include Over 45% Women12.20.19
Seminars & Speaking Engagements
- “2019 Employment and Labor Law Update,” Cleveland Metro Bar Association
- "Leave and Accommodation Issues for Dealerships – Still Challenging After All These Years, Ohio Auto Dealers Association"
- Surviving the New ICE Age, Association of Corporate Counsel,
- "Current Leave Issues and New Paid Leave Tax Credit" - Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
- “How Everybody Wins When an Alternative Fee Culture Wins,” co-presenter, NEOACCA.
- “The Fair Labor Standards Act: Exemption Changes and Challenges.”
- “Are Accommodations Keeping You Up At Night: Understanding the ADA.” – Ohio Auto Dealers Association.
- “Successfully Navigating the Intersection of the ADA and FMLA.” – Ohio Business Leadership Network.
- “Conducting Effective Workplace Investigations.”
- “Bumpy Road Ahead: Navigating the Intersection of FMLA, ADA, and Workers’ Compensation Laws.” - Ohio Chamber of Commerce HR Academy
- “Responsible Business Practices and the Attorney-Client Privilege.”
- “Employment Law Primer for Nonprofits,” Reach Out Clinic
- “Data Security, Privacy, and Identity Theft: The In-house Perspective,” NEOACCA
- “Global Privacy and Data Security Compliance: What Companies are Doing,” NEOACCA
- “Practical Aspects of Record Retention Programs and Challenges of E-Discovery Compliance,” NEOACCA
- Employment Privacy Blog2.2.18
- Employment Privacy Blog8.23.17
- Employment Privacy Blog2.14.17
- Employment Privacy Blog10.7.16
- Employment Privacy Blog3.2.16
- SEC Fines Investment Firm $75,000 for Failing to Adopt Written Cybersecurity Policies and ProceduresEmployment Privacy Blog10.8.15
- New Enforcement Initiative May Require Revisiting Current – And Former – Agreements8.25.16
- Cleveland State University, Cleveland-Marshall College of LawJ.D. 2007, Cum Laude
- Duke UniversityCertificate in Nonprofit Management
- Cumberland UniversityB.A. 1999