Melissa chairs the firm’s employment and labor law group and counsels small and medium-sized companies on labor, employment, and immigration matters. She also provides investigative services. A frequent speaker to trade associations and with more than two decades of experience in the field, she has established herself as an employment law authority for closely held Maryland businesses.
Her many clients include technology and life science companies, business, accounting, and financial services companies, long-term care facilities, medical practices, and hospitality industry businesses. Melissa counsels with a down-to-earth approach and explains legal intricacies in plain language.
Melissa provides practical, business-minded guidance to employers on all aspects of the employment relationship.
She is experienced in handling matters involving discrimination, harassment, accommodation of disabilities, family and medical leave, wage payment, prevailing wage, plant closing, performance management, hiring, work authorization, I-9 audits, termination of employment, policy compliance, and non-competition agreements, among others. She has negotiated collective bargaining agreements, conducted impact-and-effects bargaining for management, counseled employers on labor relations, grievances, and the implementation of collective bargaining agreements, and litigated unfair labor practice charges at the National Labor Relations Board. She also has extensive experience relating to union organizing campaigns.
She regularly prepares and reviews documents relating to all aspects of the employment relationship, such as offer letters and employment contracts, employment handbooks and policies, non-competition agreements, disciplinary notices, termination letters, and severance agreements. She frequently gives training programs for her clients’ executives, managers, and staff.
Melissa conducts internal workplace investigations and investigates complaints filed with federal, state, and local administrative agencies on employment matters involving Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the ADA, FMLA, FLSA, the Davis Bacon Act and state legislation. She has advocated on behalf of clients before the:
U.S. Department of Justice/Office of Civil Rights;
U.S. Department of Labor;
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service;
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission;
National Labor Relations Board;
Maryland Commission on Civil Rights;
Howard County Commission on Human Rights;
Montgomery County Office of Human Rights;
Prince George’s County Human Relations Commission; and
Baltimore City Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement.
Before joining Tydings, Melissa was a labor relations attorney for the District of Columbia Office of Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining. Prior to that, she was in private practice with The Berkley Law Group, P.C., in San Francisco, California, a labor and employment law firm.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Well versed in a variety of alternative dispute resolution techniques, she has resolved many employment-related disputes through mediation, conciliation, and settlement conferences, and has processed grievances through arbitration. She approaches mediation with the mindset that settlement is possible and confidentiality is key. Because Melissa is familiar with case law and statutory law, she understands the possible outcomes of cases that are headed for court.
She has been trained in both the inclusive and facilitative mediation methodologies, and utilizes this training in formal dispute resolution on behalf of clients, and in her counseling practice.
Federal law places the burden on companies to ensure that the foreign nationals they hire are employed in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Melissa counsels employers on work authorization compliance issues. She assists employers with the process of sponsoring eligible foreign nationals with employment-based, non-immigrant status and permanent residence status.
Melissa is a frequent speaker on, and author of numerous articles about, employment law matters.
She is also an active member of MERITAS, Law Firms Worldwide and is a member of its Labor & Employment Section and Cannabis Practice Group steering committees. She served on the organization’s Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and as its Vice Chair of Finance. She is a member of its Leadership Institute Class of 2007.
In 2010, Melissa was selected as one of Baltimore's "Legal Elite" by SmartCEO Magazine.
- Dickinson School of Law, Pennsylvania State University (J.D., 1996)
- Whitman College (B.A., 1986)
- Community Mediation Maryland, 45 Hour Basic Mediation Training, 2014
- Maryland State Bar Association, 40 Hour Basic Mediation Training, 2012
- State of Maryland
- District of Columbia
- State of California
- U.S District Court, Northern District of California
- American Immigration Lawyers Association
- District of Columbia Bar, Employment Section
- The California State Bar Association
- Meritas Law Firms Worldwide, Steering Committee, Cannabis Section, 2019-present; Steering Committee, Labor & Employment Section, 2013-present; Executive Committee and vice chair of Finance, 2011-2013; Board of Directors, 2009-2012; Finance Committee, 2011
- Society for Human Resource Management
- Maryland State Bar Association, Immigration Section Council, 2015-2017
- Co-presenter, "Beyond the FLSA Ruling - What's Next?," The Daily Record webinar, December 2016
- Speaker, "Parental Leave and Pregnancy Accommodations," Tydings Employment Law Breakfast Briefing, September 2014
- Chesapeake Regional Tech Council, 2008-2014
- Health Facilities Association of Maryland, Education and Quality Committee, 2007-2009