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JD, University of Southern California Law School

BA, University of California, Los Angeles

Did You Know

Melanie's first job was at an ice cream shop.

Employee v. City (2017) – Obtained decision from Hearing Officer and City upholding termination of police department dispatcher for misconduct including inappropriate and disruptive outbursts towards coworkers and supervisors.

Police Officer v. City (2015) – Obtained decision from Hearing Officer and City upholding the termination of a police officer for misconduct including engaging in numerous on-duty sexual encounters with multiple women.

Police Officer v. City (2014) – Obtained decision from Hearing Officer and City upholding the termination of a police officer for misconduct including damaging a police vehicle and then lying about it during the investigation.

Employee v. City (2013) – Obtained decision from Hearing Officer and City Personnel Commission upholding the termination of maintenance supervisor for misconduct including using obscene language, engaging in violence in the workplace and engaging in retaliatory action against a subordinate employee.

Siegmund v. County of Orange (2011) – 700 deputy sheriffs alleged that the County failed to pay overtime at the correct regular rate in violation of the FLSA. LCW obtained summary judgment for the County, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling for the County, finding that the deputy sheriffs failed to show that any employee was paid less than the FLSA requires for any pay period.


Sotelo v. City of Oxnard (2015) – Successfully defended the City of Oxnard against five causes of actions, including FEHA discrimination and whistleblower retaliation claims, brought against it by the City’s former City Manager in a jury trial in federal court. The jury returned a defense verdict on all claims.

Community College v. Former Faculty Member (2013) – Represented a community college district in a case where the District and the faculty member entered into a settlement agreement to resolve an administrative appeal of his dismissal from employment. The District agreed to keep the faculty member on the payroll so that he could retire from CalSTRS and then apply for District’s paid retiree health benefits. The District upheld its end of the settlement, but the faculty member, after collecting over one year of pay on administrative leave, asserted that the settlement agreement did not require him to retire from CalSTRS. As a result, he did not timely retire from CalSTRS, which rendered him ineligible to receive the District’s health benefits. After a bench trial, the court held that the faculty member was not a District retiree as a result of his own actions and that the District is not responsible for any losses suffered as a result of his failure to timely retire from CalSTRS.

Williams v. Chino Valley Independent Fire District (II) (2012) – Obtained dismissal of a Federal Court disability discrimination lawsuit filed by a retired fire captain, who alleged he was discriminated against in his efforts to be re-hired into the position from which he disability retired several years ago. LCW attorneys had previously obtained dismissal of a prior action filed by this retired fire captain in state court. When he then tried to re-litigate his claims in the federal court system, the motion was filed to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12 (b)(6) arguing the state court judgment on these claims precluded the fire captain from re-litigating in federal court. They also argued the federal complaint failed to state a viable claim because the District’s limit to a one year requalification period applied to anyone who wanted to be re-hired into a prior previously held position, not just disabled individuals.

Taylor v. LAUSD (2010) – Taylor was a teacher with LAUSD who was terminated for cause for unsatisfactory performance and rude conduct towards students. Melanie successfully represented the District in the underlying termination appeal hearing by Petitioner Darryl Taylor. Subsequently, she obtained a denial from the Los Angeles County Superior Court of Taylor’s writ appealing the Commission on Professional Competence’s decision terminating him.


City of Riverside – SEIU Local 721 (2 units), IBEW, Fire

City of Anaheim – Fire

City of Hemet – SEIU Local 721, HMMA (management), POA, PMA, Fire

City of Ventura – SEIU Local 721, VMEA (municipal employees), POA

City of Claremont – POA


San Diego County – SEIU Local 221(4 units)

Riverside County – SEIU Local 721 (per diem unit)

Orange County – Teamsters


Santa Clarita Community College District – COCFA (Faculty)

Imperial Valley Community College District – CTA (Faculty)

Rancho Santiago Community College District– FARSCCD (Faculty), CEFA (Part-time Non-Credit Faculty)

Chaffey Community College District– CSEA (classified)

Desert Community College District – CSEA (classified)

Hope Elementary School District– HDTA (teachers)


Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority – SMART (transit operators), TCU

Ventura Regional Sanitation District– SEIU, IUOE

San Bernardino County Employees’ Retirement Ass’n– SEIU Local 721

Constantino Gabriel v. LACCD (2014) – Successfully represented the District against unfair practice charge alleging unlawful retaliation under the EERA. PERB dismissed the charge without leave to amend.

GMEA v. City of Glendora (2011) – After receiving City’s response, PERB office dismissed UPC alleging, among other things, that City failed to exercise good faith during impasse procedure when it unilaterally imposed furloughs on its members.

Tips from the Table: Time & Order of Settlements
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

We are excited to continue our video series – Tips from the Table. In these videos, members of LCW’s Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining practice group will provide various tips that can be implemented at your bargaining tables. We hope that you will find these clips informative and helpful...

Five Common Pitfalls in the Reasonable Accommodation Process
California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

This article was originally published in February 2014.  The information has been reviewed and is up-to-date as of August 2021. 
Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), the employer has the duty to identify and implement a...

Governor Newsom Enacts SB95, Obligating Community College Districts to Provide COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave to their Employees
LCW Special Bulletin

On March 19, 2021, Governor Newsom signed into law the California Legislature passed Senate Bill (“SB”) 95, codifying at Labor Code section 248.2 new obligations on public agency employers to provide COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave to employees who are unable to work or telework and have...

President Signs the American Rescue Plan Act, Promising Critical Funding to Institutions of Higher Education and Additional Relief to Public Employees
LCW Special Bulletin

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed House Resolution (HR) 1319, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9 dollar trillion legislative package intended to address the economic damage caused by COVID-19.
For institutions of higher education, the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act...

Cleaning of Your Personnel Rules – Don’t Delay Getting Started
Municipal Management Association of Northern California (MMANC)'s Municipal Magazine

We are settling into 2017 and winter is fading away.  As springtime approaches and we clean out our closets and desks, it is also a good time to review your agency’s personnel rules and policies and give them a thorough “spring cleaning.”   While reviewing and updating your personnel rules can be...

October 27, 2022
Town Hall – Legal Eagles
Incline Village | Association of Chief Human Resource Officers (ACHRO) 2022 Fall Training Institute

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