Melissa Lewis provides practical legal advice and guidance to public and private employers and educational institutions to ensure compliance with local, state, and federal laws. Ms. Lewis’ advice is aimed to avoid costly litigation and unwanted public attention from legal disputes.
Ms. Lewis advises employers in all aspects of the employment relationship including: recruiting and hiring; employee counseling and discipline; due process; medical leave under the PDL, FMLA, and CFRA; disability accommodation under the ADA and FEHA; harassment and discrimination under Title VII and FEHA; wage and hour compliance; and termination and severance. Ms. Lewis advises educational institutions on compliance with federal laws such as Title IX, Education Amendments, Title VII, Civil Rights Act, Title I-III, ADA, and FERPA, as well as state laws, including Title V, California Code of Regulations, Education Code, Government Code, and other statutory and regulatory requirements. Ms. Lewis develops clear, comprehensives personnel policies, board polices, administrative procedures, and handbooks. Further, Ms. Lewis drafts effective student and employment contracts, application forms, course catalog policy language, sexual misconduct handbooks, grievance procedures, severance agreements, confidentiality agreements, leased employee agreements, and other employment or education related documents.
To further service clients, Ms. Lewis conducts audits, workplace investigations, and trainings. Ms. Lewis has experience conducting Title V, VII, and IX investigations that have specific statutory requirements, as well as more uniquely structured investigations for a wide variety of disputes that may arise in the workplace or education setting. Finally, Ms. Lewis provides seminars and trainings on both education and employment law. For example, annual employment law updates, the effect of medical leave on the discipline process, wage and hour compliance, Title IX awareness, and state-mandated sexual harassment and anti-bullying training.
Prior to joining ALBB, Ms. Lewis successfully litigated employment-based matters for both private and public entities in state and federal courts—including defeating class certification of a class of over 3,000 employees. Ms. Lewis effectively resolved matters at early stages of litigation using various alternative dispute resolution methods, and she obtained favorable resolutions of cases through dispositive motions. In addition to litigating in federal and state courts, Ms. Lewis represented clients before administrative agencies including the Public Employment Relations Board, California Unemployment Appeals Insurance Board, Labor Commissioner, and the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Further, Ms. Lewis authored multiple California Court of Appeal and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals briefs.
Ms. Lewis is a member of the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI) and an AWI certificate holder. She serves as an independent investigator for employers and educational institutions seeking objective investigations.
In her time away from the office, Ms. Lewis enjoys traveling and spending time with her three children, two daughters and a son.
Honors, Awards, Recognitions
- Rising Stars, Super Lawyers® in the area of Labor and Employment Law (2018 – 2020)
- AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence, Martindale-Hubbell
- Addressing the Gender Pay Gap: Best Practices for Employers – June 3, 2020 – National Business Institute
- Conflict Transformation through Mindful and Connected Communication – October 24, 2019 – San Diego Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) Legal + Strategic Insights Conference
- State Bar of California
- California State Courts
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
- U.S. District Court, Central District of California