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Melanie Luthern Allen





ml [at] ssdslaw [dot] com


Areas of Practice

Melanie Luthern represents public and private sector unions in litigation matters, arbitrations, and administrative hearings. She advises public and private sector unions on a wide range of topics regarding their day-to-day operations including employment law and EEO compliance, internal union elections, COVID-19 protocols, and vaccine requirements, as well as workplace violence restraining orders. She also provides advice related to strategic campaigning and organizing.


Ms. Luthern also assists unions with policy and legislative matters in subject areas such as labor peace, cannabis law, fair scheduling, hazard pay, the California Coastal Act, and CEQA, and advocates for clients at local and state agencies and local governments.

Professional History

Ms. Luthern came to SSDS after working as a Research Analyst and Political Organizer for UNITE HERE Local 11, focusing on legislative work and political mobilization.  In her representation of private sector labor unions, Ms. Luthern's practice focuses on grievance arbitrations involving discipline and contract interpretation disputes, internal union elections, legislation and policy, day-to-day operations and other issues affecting the union as an employer.  Ms. Luthern advises clients on policy matters before state and local governmental bodies including the California Coastal Commission.  Ms. Luthern recently reached a sizeable settlement for a union member in a just cause arbitration.  She has also successfully handled public sector proceedings in which a teacher's credentials were at stake.

Ms. Luthern also represents clients with matters related to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, including the investigation and filing of claims and working with the agency to ensure that workers' rights are protected. Ms. Luthern has worked with our Union clients to see that these OSHA complaints led to the issuance of citations and hazard alert letters and imposition of fines against the employer.

Ms. Luthern serves on the City of Santa Monica’s Personnel Board. The Commission acts in an advisory capacity to the City Council and the Human Resources Director on matters pertaining to personnel administration including hearing appeals of suspended, demoted or removed employees in classified service; and holding public hearings and making recommendations to the City Council on the adoption, amendment or repeal of Civil Service rules and regulations.


Ms. Luthern is originally from Youngstown, Ohio and lives in Santa Monica, California.  She enjoys hiking and biking with her young son and husband.  She is an avid reader and gardener.  Her flower beds are safe harbors for plants unjustly labeled as weeds.

  • Moritz College of Law, Columbus, Ohio, Associate Editor, Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law.

  • The United States Department of Labor Office of Administrative Law Judges, Cincinnati, Ohio, externship

  • AFL-CIO Law Student Union Summer

  • AFL-CIO Union Lawyers Alliance

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Education and Professional Associations

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