Melissa Jeanine Ackie is a trusted legal adviser to business owners, in-house counsel, and human resources professionals on a broad range of HR and compliance workplace concerns, including leave and accommodation, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, terminations, and wage and hour issues. In addition, she maintains an active litigation practice, defending clients in arbitration, federal courts, and state courts throughout Texas against discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and FMLA claims in addition to wage and hour allegations in matters involving unpaid overtime and off-the-clock work. Melissa’s goal is to help clients effectively manage employment-related risk while balancing business realities in an ever-changing legal landscape. She works with both public and private companies, including smaller operations and multi-state employers.
Her recent representative experience includes:
- Second chairing federal bench trial concerning allegations of FMLA retaliation and obtaining complete defense findings
- Obtaining multiple summary judgments on behalf of nationwide companies sued in various employment actions under Title VII and the ADEA, including claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation
- Obtaining multiple summary judgments for actions violating the statute of limitations
- Obtaining summary judgment on behalf of a nonprofit sued in a defamation action
- Obtaining sanctions against a Plaintiff for filing a baseless action under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 13. Ruling was affirmed on appeal by the Third Court of Appeals
- Obtaining dismissals in multiple Charges of Discrimination in state and federal agencies, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Texas Workforce Commission
- Negotiating favorable settlements through mediation and other informal methods on behalf of clients facing significant exposure
Melissa also regularly conducts internal workplace investigations for higher education institutions and private employers related to allegations of employee misconduct, including discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation.
Melissa serves as a liaison for Littler’s Workplace Policy Institute (WPI). She focuses on Texas state legislative and regulatory developments in employment and labor law, as well as municipal ordinances and regulation of the workplace. Melissa assists clients in understanding the potential impact of Texas legislation before it becomes law.
Most recently, Melissa has provided advice and counsel to businesses in addressing the complex employment law issues presented by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. In addition, Melissa has provided in-depth analysis and advice regarding compliance with the Texas paid sick leave ordinances in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio, and conducted training sessions focused on topics including harassment, discrimination, FMLA, and ADA issues.
Before joining Littler, Melissa’s practice primarily focused on representing individuals and companies in Texas state courts, federal courts, and arbitrations in a variety of civil litigation defense actions.
While in law school, Melissa served as a judicial intern for Federal Judge Melinda Harmon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, and represented the University of Texas School of Law at nationals in the Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition.
Melissa has been a certified mediator for the State of Texas since December 2011, and is a classically trained violist.