Missy is a seasoned labor & employment attorney who devotes herself to understanding the business and objectives of each of client, then applying her knowledge and experience to fit each client’s unique needs.
Missy litigates on behalf of employers of all sizes and, sometimes, on behalf of individual supervisors who find themselves caught in the litigation crossfire. Her broad employment litigation experience ranges from discrimination, harassment, whistleblowing, and retaliation to wage and hour matters (including collective and class action matters) to breach of contract issues to restrictive covenants (such as non-compete and non-solicitation agreements) and trade secrets issues to claims of Constitutional violations under the U.S. and N.C. Constitutions and shareholder and LLC member disputes to ERISA litigation. She also litigates the gamut of state law claims associated with the employment relationship, including defamation, infliction of emotional distress, wrongful discharge, tortious interference with contract, assault & battery, breach of fiduciary duty, and unfair & deceptive trade practices.
She has successfully tried cases to favorable jury verdicts, has obtained countless pre-trial dismissals, has taken and defended innumerable depositions, has practiced in the North Carolina appellate courts and before the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, has served as a mediator and as counsel for parties in dozens of mediations, and has reached settlements where those are in her client’s best interests.
Missy also represents employers in NLRB and EEOC administrative proceedings and has assisted employers in many other types of administrative proceedings, including with the Employment Security Commission, the 4th Circuit’s Employment Dispute Resolution (EDR) Plan, and the U.S. and N.C. Departments of Labor.
In her substantial advice and counseling practice, Missy handles day-to-day issues involving hiring, discipline, and termination; wage and hour issues under the FLSA and state laws, and handles issues relating to disability and FMLA and other leave. Missy frequently drafts and reviews Employee Handbooks and policies, Employment Agreements, Separation and Severance Agreements and policies, and Independent Contractor Agreements. She also handles corporate organization and formation and drafts accompanying documents for businesses. She also conducts due diligence and other legal reviews relating to business sales or mergers.
Last but not least, Missy also serves as an independent third-party mediator (certified by the NC Dispute Resolution Commission) of disputes in federal and state courts throughout North Carolina, and in pre-suit contexts as well. She frequently conducts independent workplace investigations, including harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, and is a member of the internationally recognized Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI). She conducts management and employee training on various labor & employment law issues and speaks in the legal and human resources community on various topics as well.
Honors & Recognitions
- Legal Elite in Employment, Business North Carolina (2008, 2011-2014, 2019, 2022)
- Legal Elite "North Carolina Women Lawyers", Business North Carolina (2014, 2019)
- Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® (2018- Present)
- North Carolina Super Lawyers® (2021-2023)
- North Carolina Rising Stars® honoree (2012-2014)
- The Employment Lawyers National Employment Law Directory’s recommended North Carolina employment law attorney, 2022
- Premier Employment Lawyers, exclusive representative attorney for the Asheville/Western North Carolina area, 2019-present
Professional & Civic Associations
- American Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section
- North Carolina State Bar
- North Carolina Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section
- Membership Committee (2022)
- Buncombe County Bar (2013-Present)
- Mecklenburg County Bar (2001-2013)
- Association of Workplace Investigators
- NC Dispute Resolution Commission Certified Superior Court Mediator
Missy enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, their Goldendoodle, Ziggy, and their cat, Biscuit. She also enjoys spending time with friends and extended family, practicing yoga, reading, and is an avid (some would say relentless) traveler.
- Strickland v. United States of America et al., Obtained dismissal on Rule 12(b) motions of individual capacity claims against the Federal Defender for the Western District of North Carolina (2020), Affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, (2022).
- Davis v. Macon County Board of Education, 178 N.C.App. 646 (2006). Obtained judgment in favor of School Board related to termination of probationary teacher, which judgment was affirmed by the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
- Obtained jury verdict in favor of employer and individual supervisor for nationally-recognized non-profit organization on claims of discrimination, retaliation, and related state-law claims after several week trial.
News & Analysis
Speaking Engagements & Industry Publications
- “Wage & Hour Update,” presented to NC/SC Labor & Employment Law Annual CLE (October, 2014)
- “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”
- Dolly Parton
- Employment Policy Formulation and Advice
- Defense of EEOC and NLRB Charges
- Management Training
- Mediation Services
- Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Investigations and Defense
- Compliance Audits
Wake Forest University School of Law
- J.D., 2001
- Wake Forest Moot Court Board
- Wake Forest Student Trial Bar (Vice President)
- ATLA National Trial Team
- Student Bar Association (Secretary, 3L Year)
- Venice Campus Program (Summer 1999)
Sewanee: The University of the South
- B.A., American Studies, with Honors, 1997
- Philosophy Minor
- Sewanee Angel Team
- European Studies
Bar & Court Admissions
- North Carolina, 2001
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
- U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina