Melissa C. Rodriguez advises clients on the full spectrum of labor and employment law matters. This includes single-plaintiff, class, and collective action litigation (both wage and hour and discrimination claims); wage and hour and other employment counseling; and traditional labor work. In her litigation practice, she represents employers in individual, class, and collective action litigation, and in administrative agency actions concerning federal and state labor and employment statutes. Her clients hail from sectors including the retail, airline, transportation, food services and financial services industries.
Responding to immediate needs of Puerto Rico residents after Hurricane Maria, Morgan Lewis partner Melissa Rodriguez helped organize everything from care packages of flashlights to a rum tasting fundraiser. Find out why she was moved to do so.
In her litigation practice, Melissa handles all aspects of a dispute. She presents oral arguments to US federal and state courts (including jury trials), and second-chaired a multiplaintiff litigation in federal court. She has defended employers as first- and second-chair in forums such as the American Arbitration Association, and the National Association of Securities Dealers Inc. (now known as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA). She also represents employers under investigation by administrative agencies, including the US Department of Labor, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and local and state agencies.
Melissa has experience with a host of federal and state labor and employment statutes. These include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Railway Labor Act, New York State and New York City Human Rights Laws, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), New York Labor Law, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
In addition to her litigation background, Melissa has advised clients with respect to compliance with the requirements of the FLSA and state law wage and hour requirements. Melissa also has conducted a number of comprehensive internal wage and hour audits to assist clients in properly classifying workers as employees or independent contractors or exempt or nonexempt employees and to revise other wage and hour practices as necessary. She has also represented clients in federal and state Department of Labor audits and negotiated favorable settlements of violations.
Clients also turn to Melissa for counseling on harassment claims, the accommodation of employee disabilities, employee disciplinary issues, and termination decisions. She leads internal investigations into harassment and discrimination claims, and provides harassment and diversity training.
Melissa also routinely counsels employers with operations in Puerto Rico and represents employers in federal litigation and administrative matters in Puerto Rico.
Melissa has served as a faculty member at the Fordham Law School Summer Institute teaching an Employment Law course. While in law school, Melissa externed with Judge Sonia Sotomayor at the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Columbia Law School, 2001, J.D.
Yale University, 1998, B.A., magna cum laude, with honors
U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second and Fourth Circuits
U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, and Eastern Districts of New York
U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut
U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico
Awards and Affiliations
Member, Practice Group of the Year, Employment, Law360 (2017, 2019)
Next Generation Lawyer, Labor and employment: Labor and employment disputes (including collective actions): defense, The Legal 500 US (2020)
Recommended, Labor and employment - Labor and employment litigation disputes (including collective actions) - defense, The Legal 500 US (2017)
Recommended, Labor and employment - Workplace and employment counseling, The Legal 500 US (2017)
Recognized, Rising Star, Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) (2017)
Recipient, 2003 Sanctuary for Families Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Advocacy
Recognized, inMotion Commitment to Justice Award (2009)
Kent Scholar, Columbia University (1999–2000, 2000–2001)