Melanie Pate, a partner in the firm's Litigation practice group, focuses primarily on Labor and Employment issues. She spent 15 years working in the Arizona Attorney General's Office, including nearly five years as Chief Counsel of the Arizona Civil Rights Division, almost two years as Chief Counsel for the Compliance Section of the Arizona Civil Rights Division, and nine years as an Assistant Attorney General in the Employment Law Section. She brings a true insider’s perspective into how state and federal civil rights agencies function, and she has strong relationships with key stakeholders within these agencies.
Employment Law Advice and Representation
Melanie provides emergency advice, preventative counseling, training, and ongoing employment guidance to HR Directors and in-house counsel. She prepares, reviews, negotiates and enforces employment contracts and severance agreements, including non-disclosure, non-compete and non-solicitation provisions, and executive compensation agreements. She also helps her clients prepare and up-date employee handbooks, create social media usage policies, and implement effective performance management policies.
Administrative Proceedings Before EEOC and ACRD
Melanie routinely represents clients in proceedings before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Arizona Civil Rights Division (ACRD), including mediation and conciliation efforts.
By leveraging her past experience as the ACRD’s Chief Counsel, she helps her clients develop defense strategies that take into account how state and federal civil rights agencies make administrative rulings on employment law matters.
Employment Litigation and Arbitration
Melanie has significant experience representing employers in cases in state and federal court involving discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, FMLA, FLSA, OSHA, whistleblower and immigration issues.
- Obtained summary judgment for a large national employer in a retaliation case
- Successfully negotiated the favorable resolution of a lawsuit filed against a large Tucson employer by a former executive
- Conducted several complex internal investigations for large public and private employers
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility
Melanie helps public and private organizations navigate and interpret complex federal rules and regulations regarding ADA Title II and Title III accommodation and accessibility issues. Recently, she assisted a major airline with an ADA accessibility issue and represented multiple entities in accessibility litigation matters.
Fair Housing Laws
In addition to her employment law practice, Melanie helps housing providers, state agencies, property managers and real estate companies comply with state and federal Fair Housing laws. She most recently represented the Arizona Department of Housing in a dispute with HUD regarding appropriate housing for deaf and hearing-impaired individuals.