Melissa Morse Shirley, a partner in the Baton Rouge office, practices in the areas of labor and employment law, including litigation, transactional, administrative and counseling matters. Her clients include petrochemical companies, health care industry organizations, gaming industry companies, retail businesses, food service industry clients, financial institutions, contractors, universities, law firms and a number of governmental entities. Ms. Shirley became a Partner with Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson in 2002. She has served on the Firm’s recruiting committee since 1999 and previously served as the firm’s Recruiting Partner. Ms. Shirley also serves as the manager of the firm's labor and employment team.
In the area of litigation, Ms. Shirley has defended a wide variety of both corporate and public employers in cases involving Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the United States Constitution, as well as correlative state employment discrimination, benefit and wage related laws. Ms. Shirley also has extensive experience litigating issues under employment statutes unique to Louisiana, including Louisiana’s pregnancy leave statutes, anti retaliation/whistleblower provisions, wage payment laws, drug testing and noncompete statutes.
In her traditional labor law practice, Ms. Shirley has assisted clients before the National Labor Relations Board in connection with representation proceedings, unfair labor practice charges and back pay specifications. She has also conducted extensive training and developed tailored programs designed to assist companies in preventing or prevailing in union organizing campaigns and unfair labor practice proceedings.
Because the proverbial ounce of prevention is key in today’s litigious workforce, Ms. Shirley assists and counsels clients on day-to-day employee relations in order to prevent disputes on the front end, and to ensure compliance with the demanding and always evolving labor and employment laws. Through the drafting of policies, employee and management training, and employer audits and counseling, Ms. Shirley has developed and helped to implement preventive programs tailored to individual clients’ organizational needs.