• PRACTICE FOCUS+
  • EDUCATION+
    • North Carolina Central University
      J.D., cum laude, 2000; Senior Editor, North Carolina Central Law Journal; Awarded First Place Dean Mary Wright Closing Argument Competition
    • Grambling State University
      B.A., magna cum laude, in Mass Communication: Public Relations, 1997; National Dean’s List; Presidential Merit Scholar
  • ADMISSIONS+
    • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Mississippi
    • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Mississippi
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
    • Mississippi
  • CLERKSHIP+
    • Law Clerk to the Hon. William J. Haynes, Jr., U.S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee

LaToya C. Merritt

LaToya Merritt practices in the area of labor and employment with a focus on Civil Rights and Title VII, as well as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act. She has assisted public and private entities throughout the state in matters involving race, sex, sexual/workplace harassment, discrimination, retaliation claims, reasonable accommodations, leaves of absence and wage and hour.

MORE

LaToya Merritt practices in the area of labor and employment with a focus on Civil Rights and Title VII, as well as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act. She has assisted public and private entities throughout the state in matters involving race, sex, sexual/workplace harassment, discrimination, retaliation claims, reasonable accommodations, leaves of absence and wage and hour.

At the administrative level, Ms. Merritt has represented employers who are faced with charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Labor Relations Board.

An important part of Ms. Merritt’s practice involves training, planning and employment advice. Specifically, she provides management and/or corporate counsel advice regarding performance evaluation/appraisal systems; development of employment policies and practices; employee handbooks and municipal employment liability. She also provides extensive training to clients regarding managing diverse workforces and handling sexual harassment investigations. She conducts diversity training and educational programs for numerous companies throughout the region. She has trained hundreds of managers on employment law issues.

Ms. Merritt serves as the deputy practice coordinator of Phelps Dunbar's Jackson labor and employment group.

Experience

  • First Chair litigator in both jury and bench trials.
  • Represents private and public employers in all facets of employment-related matters, from counseling and advising to defense of administrative and judicial complaints.
  • Represents governmental entities in defense of civil rights suits.
  • Serves as counsel to public and private governing boards across the State.
  • Conduct extensive diversity training and awareness programs for employees.
  • Counsel and advise employers on risk management including workplace harassment and supervisory training.
  • Drafting and designing employment policies and procedures covering family and medical leave, workplace harassment, sexual harassment, military leave and employment related agreements.

Insights

Speaking Engagements
  • 40th Annual Mississippi Labor & Employment Law Conference (August 2017)
  • 19th Annual Mississippi Human Resource Conference & Expo (May 2014)
  • 2012 Mississippi Labor & Employment Law Seminar (March 2012)
  • "The New Law of Retaliation: How to Avoid Turning an Internal Complaint into a Federal Lawsuit" (2008)
  • "Emerging Issues in Sexual Discrimination" (2008)
  • "Effectively Managing Multi-generational Workforces" (2008)
  • "ATTENTION...Board members, you may be personally liable" (2008)
  • "Slam Dunk Hiring from an Employment Lawyer's Perspective" (2008)
  • "Crossing the Line…When Do Jokes and Office Horseplay Become Grounds for a Sexual/Racial Harassment Suit" (2007)
  • "The Compelling Business Case for Diversity: Is Green the Only Color That Matters?" (2007)
  • "Effective Diversity Training for the Workplace" (2006)
News

Memberships & Affiliations

  • The Mississippi Bar - Young Lawyers’ Division; Diversity in the Law Committee (Chair, 2002-2004)
  • American Bar Association
  • Greater Leadership Jackson (Former Board of Trustees)
  • Mississippi Women Lawyers’ Association (President, 2006-2007; Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer, 2004-2006)
  • American Inns of Court, Charles Clark Chapter (Associate)
  • Leadership Jackson (Class of 2004)

Recognition

  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business
  • Nation’s Best Advocates 40 Lawyers Under 40 Award (2010)
  • Mid-South Super Lawyers - Rising Stars