Melissa Schilling represents public and private sector employers in labor and employment matters. In that role, she has successfully represented clients in state and federal cases involving a broad range of labor and employment laws, including Title VII, the American with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Melissa also has extensive experience investigating and handling matters filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and related federal and state agencies. Her work before these agencies includes assisting clients at the early charge stage, during governmental investigations, and throughout any subsequent litigation.
In addition to her litigation experience, Melissa has experience counseling employers on a wide range of labor and employment issues, including cyber security issues, discrimination, harassment, FMLA and medical issues in the workplace, technology issues, and discipline matters. In her counseling practice, she takes a proactive approach to responding and resolving various employment issues and assists her clients in establishing policies and procedures necessary to comply with the ever-changing law.
In addition to labor and employment law, Melissa represents real estate companies, condominium associations, and homeowner associations before the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. Melissa’s practice also includes representing real estate companies, banks, and insurance companies in commercial litigation.
As part of her proactive approach to helping clients, Melissa also regularly conducts training for employers on a wide range of employment matters, including prevention of discrimination and harassment, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Family Medical Leave Act, hiring and recruitment practices, cybersecurity risks and strategies, discipline, supervisor best practices, and appropriate investigation techniques.
Prior to joining Dickinson law, Melissa Schilling practiced labor and employment law with a Chicago law firm, where she represented primarily municipal employers in state and federal litigation, grievance arbitration, and matters pending before the Illinois Labor Relations Board.
Areas of Practice
Harassment & Discrimination Investigations
Cybersecurity & Vendor Agreements
Harassment and Discrimination Prevention
FMLA, FSLA, Military Leave, and ADA Compliance
Background Checks and Drug Testing Best Practices
Employee Use of Social Media
Employee Complaints and Termination
Employment Law Basics
Admitted to Practice in the Following States:
Admitted to Practice Before the Following Federal Courts:
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa
Reported Cases and Representative Matters
- James Coppoc v. Iowa State University, et. al., No. 4:15-cv-00398 (S.D. Iowa 2018) Successfully obtained summary judgment in favor of individual defendant on Plaintiff’s constitutional claims (First Amendment, Due Process), Title VII claims, sexual harassment and retaliation claims under the ICRA, whistleblower claims, and tort claims (intentional infliction of emotional distress and interference with business relationships and prospective business advantage).
- Annett Holdings, Inc. v. Iowa Economic Development Authority, Case No. CVCV052929 (Polk County, IA; March 20, 2017). Successfully obtained motion to dismiss on behalf of Intervenor ABC Trust on Petitioner’s Petition for Judicial Review.
- Anderson Tooling v. Libertyville Savings Bank, Case No. LALA 003998 (Jefferson County, Ia; November 22, 2016). Successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of Bank on Plaintiff’s conversion claim.
- Ellis v. Iowa Christian Academy, Inc., Case No. LACL 133897 (Polk County, IA). Successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of School on Plaintiff’s Iowa Code Chapter 91A claim (Iowa’s Wage Payment and Collection Law).
- Relco Locomotives Inc. and SMART, Cases 18-CA-153845, 156999 (NLRB February 22, 2016). Successfully obtained formal settlement on behalf of individual employee, including full award of backpay plus interest.
- Timber Products Inspection, Inc. v. Allsup Manufacturing, Inc. & Cory J. Larson, No. 4:15-cv-148 (S.D. Iowa 2016). Successfully obtained default judgment, permanent injunction, and an award of attorney fees in favor of Plaintiff on claims for trademark infringement, false designation of origin and description, unfair competition, and breach of contract.
- Kevin Williams v. Mid-Iowa Equipment, Inc., No. 4:13-cv-416 (S.D. Iowa 2015). Successfully obtained summary judgment in favor of Defendant on Plaintiff’s claims for breach of contract, fraud and buyer’s unilateral mistake.
- Mark Swanson v. Village of Flossmoor, Il., No. 11 CV 4421 (N.D. Ill. 2014) affirmed Swanson v. Village of Flossmoor, Il., No. 14-3309 (7th Cir. 2015). Successfully obtained summary judgment in favor of Defendant on Plaintiff’s discrimination and retaliation claims arising under Title VII and the ADA.
- Village of Lombard v. IL FOP Labor Council, No. 12 MR 101 (DuPage County, Il). Represented the Village in successfully obtaining a decision to vacate an arbitration award.
- Larry Hall v. Village of Flossmoor, No. 11-cv-5283 (N.D. Ill. 2012) affirmed Hall v. Vill. of Flossmoor, Il., 520 F. App’x 468 (7th Cir. 2013). Successfully obtained summary judgment in favor of Defendant on Plaintiff’s discrimination claims arising under Title VII, Section 1981 and Section 1983.
- Plumbers and Steamfitters Local Union No. 33 Retirement Trust and the Trustees thereof, et. al. v. Carroll Plumbing LLC, et. al. No. 4:17-CV-00353 (S.D. Iowa 2019). Successfully obtained judgment in favor of plumbing contractor on plaintiffs’ ERISA claim for unpaid contributions.
Honors & Awards
Selected for inclusion in the 2018 edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as an “Up and Coming” leader in the area of Labor & Employment Law in the state of Iowa.
Memberships & Activities
- American Bar Association
- Labor and Employment Law Section
- Litigation Section
- Young Lawyers Division
- Iowa State Bar Association
- Labor and Employment Law Section
- Litigation Section
- Young Lawyers Division
- Polk County Bar Association
- Iowa Council of School Board Attorneys – member
Education & Background
- J.D., Creighton University School of Law, (Cum Laude, Certificate in Litigation)
- B.S., University of Iowa (with honors)
Articles & Presentations
- Co-Author (with Cody Edwards), Employers: Be Cautious of the New Tax Law’s Incentive For Independent Contractors, Iowa Tax Cafe Blog, Iowa Employer Law Blog, January 9, 2018
- Presenter, "The Need for Weed: Marijuana and the Workplace," 2017 Iowa Employment Law Seminar, West Des Moines, October 19, 2017
- Presenter, "Employee Departures: Protecting Company Assets in the Digital Age Through Noncompete & Nonsolicitation Agreements," 2017 Iowa Banking Law Seminar, West Des Moines, September 7, 2017
- Co-Presenter (with Jeff Krausman), "Highlights of Educator Employment Matters and Personnel Record Changes from Iowa's New Collective Bargaining Law," Iowa School Personnel Administrators, March 1, 2017
- Co-Presenter (with Jeff Krausman), "Iowa Legislature Passes Extensive Collective Bargaining Changes: What it Means for Iowa Public Employees," Iowa Employer Law Webinar, February 22, 2017
- Presenter, "Other Employment Laws You Need to Know," National Business Institute Seminar: Human Resource Law From Start to Finish, December 14, 2016
- Co-Presenter (with John Lande), "Social Media Evidence: Real-World How To's," National Business Institute Seminar, Email, Smartphone and Social Media Evidence: A Practical How-To Guide, Des Moines, Iowa, October 28, 2016
- Presenter, "Top Ten Strategies for Drafting Effective Separation Agreements," Employment Law Client Seminar, West Des Moines, Iowa, October 26, 2016
- Presenter, "The Top 10 Cybersecurity Training Issues for Your Employees," 2016 Cybersecurity Seminar, Des Moines, June 24, 2016
- Author, Scary Reminder: HR Directors May Face Liability for FMLA Violations, Iowa Employer Law Blog, April 05, 2016
- Author, Seeking Damages for Pain and Suffering? Harsh Lessons from Playing Hide-the-Ball, Iowa Employer Law Blog, March 28, 2016
- Presenter, “BYOD and COPE: Which is Best for Your Business?” 2015 Employment Law Client Seminar, West Des Moines, Iowa, October 21, 2015.
- Presenter, “Can Disabled Employees Be Disciplined?” 2015 Employment Law Client Seminar, West Des Moines, Iowa, October 21, 2015.
- Co-author, “Freedom of Speech in the Public Workplace,” Municipal Law Deskbook, 2015 American Bar Association, available for purchase.
- Presenter, “Employment Law 101,” 2015 Iowa State Bar Association Nuts and Bolts Seminar, Johnston, Iowa, October 5, 2015
- Presenter, “It’s Not Just for Kids and Geeks: Legal Aspects of Municipal Social Networking,” 2015 Iowa League of Cities Annual Conference, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, September 24, 2015
- Presenter, “BYOD in the 21st Century: Would You, Could You & Should You Allow BYOD?” 2015 Iowa Banking Law Seminar, West Des Moines, Iowa, September 10, 2015
- Author, Real Estate Brokerage Laws and Customs: Iowa Q&A, Practical Law State Q&A, August 2015
- Presenter, “Momma, Let’s Go to Las Vegas on FMLA Leave: The Good, Bad and Ugly of FMLA Leave – What Every Supervisor Needs to Know,” 2015 Iowa Municipal Professionals Academy, Ames, Iowa, July 31, 2015
- Presenter, “From Affirmative Action to Promoting Diversity: What Your Bank Needs to Know,” 2015 Critical Management Issues Seminar, Des Moines, Iowa, June 26, 2015
- Author, Take Two: Iowa Supreme Court Finds Employers Are Not Required to Disclose Surveillance Videos in Workers’ Compensation Proceedings, Iowa Employer Law Blog, June 17, 2015
- Author, Colorado Supreme Court: Employer’s Zero-Tolerance Drug Policy Trumps Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Law, Iowa Employer Law Blog, June 16, 2015
- Author, DOL Publishes New FMLA Model Forms, Iowa Employer Law Blog, May 29, 2015
- Author, The EEOC Issues Proposed Regulations on Wellness Programs, Iowa Employer Law Blog, April 22, 2015
- Presenter, “Employment for Banks,” Dickinson Law Webinar Series, April 16, 2015
- Author, Obama Administration: Paid Leave is a Worker’s Right, Not a Privilege, Iowa Employer Law Blog, January 16, 2015
- Author, A New Year Resolution for Iowa Employers: Do Your Employment Policies Need a Makeover in 2015? Iowa Employer Law Blog, January 5, 2015
- Author, The NLRB’s New Election Rule is the “Mount Everest of Regulations: Massive in Scale and Unforgiving in its Effect,” Iowa Employer Law Blog, December 15, 2014
- Author, What Could Possibly Be Wrong With Dress Codes and Casual Fridays? Iowa Employer Law Blog, December 12, 2014
- Author, Email is the Present Day Water Cooler: NLRB Holds That a Total Ban on Nonwork Email Use by Employees is Unlawful, Iowa Employer Law Blog, December 11, 2014
- Author, U.S. Supreme Court: Time Spent for Anti-Theft Security Screenings is Not Compensable, Iowa Employer Law Blog, December 9, 2015
- Author, Reminder: New OSHA Reporting Requirements Begin January 15, 2015, Iowa Employer Law Blog, December 9, 2015
- Presenter, “Labor Law is the New Employment Law,” 2014 IaPELRA Winter Meeting, Waukee, Iowa, December 5, 2014
- Author, A Double Edged Sword: Iowa Court Requires Mandatory Disclosure of Surveillance Video in Workers’ Compensation Proceedings, Iowa Employer Law Blog, November 11, 2014
- Author, Finally: the NLRB Places Limits on Insubordinate Facebook Comments,” Iowa Employer Law Blog, November 4, 2014
- Presenter, “Labor Law is the New Employment Law,” 2014 Employment Law Client Seminar, West Des Moines, Iowa, October 23, 2014
- “Free Speech and Privacy: Where do Employees’ Rights End, and the Public Employer’s Rights to Regulate Begin” LERMI (April 2014)
- “Free Speech and Privacy: Where do Employees’ Rights End, and the Public Employer’s Rights to Regulate Begin” IPELRA February 2014)
- “Are Emails and Other Communications Really Private? What is Discoverable and What Steps Can My Jurisdiction Consider Taking to Protect Its Internal Communications?” IPELRA (March 2014)
- “Using Social Media to Hire and Discipline Employees,” IPELRA (September 2012)
- “Freedom of Expression in the Public Sector Workplace: Free Speech, Social Media and the Employer’s Right to Discipline” IPELRA (February 2012)