Melinda B. Kaufmann is a knowledgeable advisor who assists boards of education and employers with understanding and applying the myriad of changing laws that affect their business. When it becomes necessary, she is a powerful advocate both in court and before administrative agencies. Clients appreciate her unique knowledge and insight into the challenges faced by their schools and organizations. In addition to her law degree, Melinda has a Master’s Degree in Special Education and taught special education and mathematics for five years.
Melinda successfully defended a board of education in the first special education federal jury trial in the country. Boards of Education appreciate her extensive experience representing them before state and federal agencies, including the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration, the State Board of Labor Relations, and in arbitrations before American Arbitration Association arbitrators. She also represents boards of education before the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights on claims of disability and race/national origin discrimination and the Connecticut State Department of Education and is certified as a Civil Rights Investigator Three through ATIXA.
Melinda defends employers and their individual officers, agents and employees in federal and state courts and before federal and state agencies regarding various issues including: discrimination, retaliation and harassment claims under Title VI, Title VII, Title IX, Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, whistleblower claims, constitutional claims under Section 1983, First Amendment, Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act and various employment-related tort claims. Melinda routinely negotiates collective bargaining agreements.
A sought after speaker and trainer, Melinda frequently provides employee training on topics such as sexual harassment, special education, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, student discipline, discrimination, the ADA, the Family Medical Leave Act and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. She frequently trains school district employees on Title IX.
Connecticut School Attorneys Council - president
Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame - trustee
ATIXA - certified Civil Rights Investigator Three
- Prevailed on summary judgment at the Federal District Court when a non-tenured teacher claimed her contract was not renewed because of her ethnicity.
- Successfully defended through the Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit a board of education accused of discriminating and retaliating against an administrator in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act when it demoted the administrator.
- Successfully defended, through the Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, a board of education against a claim of national origin by a teacher who had been terminated for cause.
- Successfully defended, through the Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, a board of education against a claim of disability discrimination after it terminated an employee who was found to be under the influence of alcohol during work hours.
- Prevailed on summary judgment against a claim by a teacher who alleged her employment was not renewed because of whistleblower activity.
- Defense of employers against claims of employment discrimination based on age, race, national original, pregnancy, disability, gender and gender orientation, before the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
- Defended employers in federal and state court involving claims of discrimination including age, race, disability, retaliation, First Amendment rights of employees, whistleblower claims, and constitutional claims brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section 1983.
- Successfully defended boards of education against grievances brought to arbitration involving employee discipline, denials of transfer, lack of employee parking, contract interpretation and other conditions of employment.
- Defense of employers before the Federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration.
- Provided employers with training on preventing sexual harassment in the workplace.
- Advised employers on all aspects of the employment relationship including employee discipline, accommodating employees with disabilities, the application of the Family Medical Leave Act.
- Defense of employers before the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration and the State Board of Labor Relations.
- Collectively bargained contracts with unions representing various non-certified public employees.
News & Insights
- December 2023 - May 2024
- Zoom Webinar, 11.09.2023
- Zoom Webinars, December 2023 - May 2024
- Zoom, 10.09.2023
- Zoom Webinar, 09.19.2023
- Zoom Webinar, 06.09.2023
- Zoom Webinar, 05.09.2023
- Sheraton Hotel (Rocky Hill), 100 Capital Blvd, Rocky Hill, CT, 03.17.2023
- Zoom Webinar, 03.15.2023
- Zoom Webinar, 03.09.2023
- 2022 - 2023 Working Together Webinar Series - Part III: Conducting Effective Workplace InvestigationsZoom Webinar, 02.07.2023
- Zoom Webinar, 01.09.2023
- Zoom Webinar, On the 9th of every month
- Developments from the 2022 Session of the Connecticut General Assembly Affecting Independent Schools10.12.2022
- Developments from the 2022 Session of the Connecticut General Assembly Affecting Public Schools (and Public Employers)08.12.2022
- Don’t Just Leave Leave Alone: Whether You Have 1 Employee or 100, Private Employers Must Act Quickly to Comply with Changes to Connecticut’s Family and Medical Leave Law01.14.2022
- Dealing with Religious Objections to Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements: The EEOC Issues Clarifying Technical Assistance for Employers10.26.2021
- A Critical Warning to Federal Contractors and Subcontractors with Unvaccinated Employees: Time is Running Out to Comply with President Biden’s Vaccination Mandate10.21.2021
- Executive Order 10E and the Municipal Budget Process in 2021: Similar (But Not Quite Back) to "Normal"04.13.2021
- Education Law Notes , 08.24.2023
- Education Law Notes , 08.14.2023
- Disciplining Employees for Offensive Private Speech: Connecticut Employers Must Show Workplace DisruptionWorking Together, 02.01.2023
- Education Law Notes , 01.09.2023
- Education Law Notes , 12.20.2022
- Education Law Notes , 08.16.2022
- EEOC Places Further Limits on When an Employer May Require an Employee to Undergo Testing for COVID-19Education Law Notes , 07.28.2022
- EEOC Places Further Limits on When an Employer May Require an Employee to Undergo Testing for COVID-19Working Together, 07.20.2022
- U.S. Department of Education Issues Proposed Revisions to the Title IX Regulations Regarding Sexual HarassmentEducation Law Notes , 06.24.2022
- Education Law Notes , 03.23.2022
- Working Together, 09.28.2021
- Education Law Notes , 08.24.2021
- Education Law Notes , 07.26.2021
- OCR and DOJ Issue Clear Guidance that Denying Transgender Students Access to the Bathroom and Sports Team Corresponding to Their Identified Gender Violates Title IXEducation Law Notes , 06.28.2021
- Working Together, 06.14.2021
- The EEOC’s Updated Guidance Allows Employers to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccinations (With Some Exceptions), and Clarifies When Employers Can Provide Incentives for Getting the COVID-19 VaccineWorking Together, 05.28.2021
- Education Law Notes , 03.17.2021
- Does President Biden’s Executive Order on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Discrimination Overrule OCR’s Recent Guidance?Education Law Notes , 02.01.2021
- Education Law Notes , 01.14.2021
- Education Law Notes , 11.02.2020
- OCR Makes Clear That COVID-19 Does Not Alter School Districts’ Obligations Under the New Title IX RegulationsEducation Law Notes , 10.06.2020
- Working Together, 09.10.2020
- DOL Says That Parents Who Opt Out of In-Person Learning Cannot Use Paid FFCRA Leave, But May Use the Leave for Remote Days Where a School is Using a Hybrid ModelWorking Together, 09.01.2020
- Join us for our July 10 Webinar: Returning to Class in the Fall: How Can Connecticut's Public Schools Adapt?Education Law Notes , 07.06.2020
- Federal District Court Rules That Special Education Students Who Have Not Received a High School Diploma Continue to be Eligible to Receive Special Education Until Age 22Education Law Notes , 06.22.2020
- EEOC Makes Clear That COVID-19 Cannot be Used to Justify Discrimination Against Employees Based on Age or Other CharacteristicsWorking Together, 06.16.2020
- Education Law Notes , 06.11.2020
- Part III in a Series: Is Your District Prepared to Implement the New Title IX Regulations at the Start of the 2020-2021 School Year? The Formal Complaint ProcessEducation Law Notes , 05.29.2020
- One Size Doesn’t Fit All: New EEOC Guidance Cautions Employers to Take an Individualized Approach in Returning ‘At-Risk’ Employees to Work in the Wake of COVID-19Working Together, 05.28.2020
- Part II in a Series: Is Your District Prepared to Implement the New Title IX Regulations at the Start of the 2020-2021 School Year? Initial Response to Allegations of Sexual HarassmentEducation Law Notes , 05.27.2020
- Part I in a Series: Is Your District Prepared to Implement the New Title IX Regulations at the Start of the 2020-2021 School Year?Education Law Notes , 05.21.2020
- CHRO Offers Extension of Deadline for Employers to Provide Sexual Harassment Training to New EmployeesWorking Together, 05.06.2020
- Working Together, 04.22.2020
- Working Together, 04.14.2020
- U.S. Department of Education Clarifies That Video Recording Virtual Lessons and Making Them Available to Students Does Not Violate FERPA and Provides Other Advice on FERPA Compliance in the Age of Virtual LearningEducation Law Notes , 04.02.2020
- Dispelling the Myth: Yes Virginia, You Can Use Interactive Videoconferencing with Students as Part of Distance LearningEducation Law Notes , 03.27.2020
- Small And Mid-Size Businesses Should be Able to Swiftly Recover the Cost of Providing Coronavirus Related Paid Leave Under the Families First Coronavirus Response ActWorking Together, 03.24.2020
- Working Together, 03.22.2020
- Education Law Notes , 03.18.2020
- Working Together, 03.17.2020
- Education Law Notes , 03.17.2020
- Education Law Notes , 03.13.2020
- Education Law Notes , 03.04.2020
- Schools Must Take Care to Follow Established Complaint Procedures When Investigating Student Complaints of Sexual Harassment Against Employees In Order to Avoid Potential Liability for Sex DiscriminationWorking Together, 09.12.2019
- Education Law Notes , 08.06.2019
- Connecticut District Court Rules That Employer Cannot Rescind Job Offer Because Of Medical Marijuana UseWorking Together, 11.13.2018
- NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED – MAKE SURE YOU ARE DOCUMENTING ALL THE SERVICES BEING PROVIDED TO YOUR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTSEducation Law Notes , 11.13.2018
- United States Department Of Education Issues Letter Guidance Regarding Private Evaluator’s Access To Classrooms For Student ObservationEducation Law Notes , 10.16.2018
- Working Together, 09.27.2018
- CALIFORNIA COURT RULES DISTRICT CANNOT PROHIBIT STUDENTS FROM KNEELING DURING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM AT SCHOOL SPORTING EVENTSEducation Law Notes , 04.19.2018
- Working Together, 02.26.2018
- Does Providing A Parent With The Surveillance Video Of A School Incident And/Or Student Statements About The Incident That Involved Multiple Students Violate FERPA?Education Law Notes , 02.08.2018
- THE LATEST ON ALTERNATIVE EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR EXPELLED STUDENTS: THE GOOD, THE NOT SO GOOD, THE UNKNOWN, AND “FINAL” THOUGHTS.Education Law Notes , 01.26.2018
- Education Law Notes , 01.03.2018
- When Does Work Constitute “Training” For Purposes Of Determining Whether An Intern Is Really An Employee?Working Together, 12.29.2017
- Education Law Notes , 12.19.2017
- STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION PROVIDES PROPOSED FINAL DRAFT OF GUIDELINES FOR EXPULSIONS AND ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION (Part 2)Education Law Notes , 09.21.2017
- HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL COACH DOES NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO PRAY ON THE 50 YARD LINE AFTER THE GAME – LESSONS FROM THE NINTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALSEducation Law Notes , 09.05.2017
- Education Law Notes , 08.14.2017
- Education Law Notes , 07.28.2017
- Education Law Notes , 07.14.2017
- Education Law Notes , 06.26.2017
- Working Together, 04.07.2017
- United States Supreme Court Defines Standard For Special Education: Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1Education Law Notes , 03.24.2017
- A Kindergarten Student and Her Dog Named Wonder: What Rights Do Students Have To Service Animals In The Classroom?Education Law Notes , 03.02.2017
- A Cadillac, A Serviceable Chevrolet Or Something In Between: The Supreme Court Is Poised To Redefine The Standard Of Education That Must Be Provided To Special Education StudentsEducation Law Notes , 01.25.2017
- Education Law Notes , 12.22.2016
- Education Law Notes , 11.09.2016
- Education Law Notes , 09.01.2016
- Working Together, 05.18.2016
- Working Together, 05.05.2016
- City of Waterbury v. Connecticut Alliance of City Police — A New Standard of Impartiality for Arbitrators in Interest Arbitrations?Working Together, 05.01.2015
- Working Together, 07.29.2014
- Working Together, 07.21.2014
- Working Together, 04.23.2014
- Working Together, 01.29.2014
Bar and Court Admissions
- U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut
- U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
William and Mary School of Law, J.D., Order of the Coif, 1998
The College of Saint Rose, M.S., 1990
University of Albany, B.S., summa cum laude, 1989