“Our goal is to provide access to justice for workers whose rights have been violated. Class actions amplify our efforts because they give us the ability to enforce the rights of many workers at once.”


MELISSA LARDO STEWART is a partner at Outten & Golden LLP in New York, where she represents employees in class action wage and discrimination cases.  She has represented workers across many industries and job functions, including retail, sales, food service, hospitality, financial services, accounting, and telecommunications.  She has prosecuted wage theft claims on behalf of workers who were required to work off-the-clock, subjected to time-shaving, wrongly classified as exempt from overtime protections, and improperly treated as independent contractors.  Ms. Stewart also currently represents employees and applicants in class and collective action gender and age discrimination cases.

Before Ms. Stewart joined Outten & Golden LLP in November 2013, she clerked for the Honorable James Orenstein in the Eastern District of New York and the Honorable Dickinson R. Debevoise in the District of New Jersey, and represented workers and labor unions as an associate at Woodley & McGillivary in Washington, D.C.  She graduated magna cum laude from Fordham University School of Law in 2009. 

(*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.)

Bar Admission and Professional Activity
  • Ms. Stewart is admitted to practice law only in New York and the District of Columbia.
  • Board Member, the New York Affiliate of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA/NY)
  • Member, American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law, Federal Labor Standards Legislation Committee
  • Member, Federal Bar Council, Employment Litigation Committee
  • Member, National Employment Lawyers Association
  • Member, New York City Bar Association
  • Member, American Association for Justice
Video & Podcasts

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Speaking Engagements


  • Moderator: “Views from the Defense Bar,” National Employment Lawyers Association, 2023 Spring Seminar, San Diego, CA



  • Panelist: “Maximizing and Limiting Wage and Hour Damages,” Practising Law Institute, Wage & Hour Litigation and Compliance 2021, Webinar


  • Speaker: “Wage & Hour Collective and Class Actions: Asserting and Challenging Affirmative Defenses,” Strafford, Webinar



  • Panelist: “Switching to Offense in Employment Cases,” New York State Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada
  • Co-Presenter: “A View from the Plaintiff’s Bar,” FordHarrison and lus Laboris, Eighth Annual Year-End Labor & Employment Law Workshop, Gladstone, NJ
  • Moderator: “Working Productively With the Other Side to Get What you Need,” NELA Spring Seminar, ESI & Technology for the Plaintiffs’ Employment Lawyer, Vienna, VA
  • Panelist: “Wage & Hour Collective and Class Actions: Asserting and Challenging Affirmative Defenses,” Strafford Webinar Panel
  • Speaker: “Strategies After Decertification,” NELA 2018 Annual Convention, Chicago, IL


  • Moderator: “Discovery Rules Amendments in Practice,” NELA/NY, Spring Conference on Representing Employees, New York, NY
  • Speaker: “Proportionality in Discovery,” American Association for Justice, 2017 Annual Convention, Boston, MA
  • Moderator: “The Nuts and Bolts of a Wage & Hour Case from Intake to Resolution,” NELA Spring Seminar, Litigating Wage & Hour Cases: Challenges and Opportunities, Silver Spring, MD


  • Speaker: “Views From the Plaintiffs’ Bar: Adapting Your Defense Strategies to New and Innovative Techniques and Tactics,” American Conference Institute, Wage & Hour Conference, Miami, FL
  • Speaker: “Exempt Employees” and “Calculating Damages under State and Federal Law,” ADR Department of the Eastern District of New York, Co-Sponsored by the Federal Bar Association, Eastern District of New York Chapter, Fair Labor Standards Act Training for Mediators, Central Islip, NY
  • Moderator: “Who’s Exempt,” NELA/NY, Fall Conference on Representing Employees, New York, NY
  • Panelist: “Overtime: To Pay or Not to Pay – That is the Question: Recent Developments in Wage and Hour Law,” Labor & Employment Relations Association, New Jersey Chapter, Woodbridge, NJ
  • Panelist: “Arbitration Clauses in Employment Contracts,” Rutgers Labor & Employment Society, Newark, NJ



  • Speaker: “Using Technology In Litigating Wage & Hour Cases,” NELA Spring Seminar, Protecting Pay, Representing Workers with Wage & Hour Claims, Washington, DC


Blogs & Publications

Obama Administration Updates Overtime Rules

The Department of Labor (DOL) is updating the rules that govern overtime for salaried workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The new rules will make millions more Americans eligible for overtime wages. The DOL is amending the “white collar” exemptions that…

Case Assessment Checklist (FLSA Collective and Rule 23 Class Action) (Employee)

Lexis Practice Advisor. Lexis Nexis. This checklist is a guide for a plaintiff/employee-side attorney who is assessing a potential wage and hour class or collective action case. 

Technology Tools for Labor and Employment Lawyers

Melissa Stewart, ABA Labor & Employment Law Section Newsletter, Fall 2017, Volume 44 Number 1

Awards & Recognition
  • 2024: Best Lawyers – Ones to Watch – Labor and Employment Law – Employee
  • 2023: Lawdragon 500 – Civil Rights & Plaintiff Employment Lawyer
  • 2021-2022: Lawdragon 500 – Plaintiff Employment Lawyer
  • 2017-2023: Super Lawyers – Rising Star
  • 2019: Super Lawyers – NY Women Rising Star