Defended wage penalty, FLSA, FMLA, ERISA, ADA, retaliatory discharge, employment civil rights, as well as race, sex and age discrimination claims in federal and state courts for public agencies as well as hotels, manufacturers, a cable installation company, a railroad, an insurance company, and professional services companies. Examples include:
- Bounds v. Textron Inc., No. 18-4315, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 217095 (E.D. La. Dec. 28, 2018);
- Body by Cook, Inc. v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins., 355 F. Supp. 3d 533 (E.D. La. 2018) and 869 F.3d 381 (5th Cir. 2017);
- Kimbrough v. Textron Sys. Marine & Land Sys., No. 17-5722, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71935 (E.D. La. Apr. 30, 2018);
- Carter v. Thorpe Plant Services, Inc., No. 119121, Twenty-Third Judicial District Court for the Parish of Ascension, State of Louisiana;
- Cornelius Payne v. Housing Authority of New Orleans, No. 13-6777, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana;
- McGowan v. Housing Authority of New Orleans, 112 So.3d 1143 (La. App. 4 Cir. 2013);
- Ancar v. Port Ship Services, Inc., No. 12-01710 (E.D. La. August 1, 2013);
- Turner v. Kansas City S. Ry. Co., 675 F.3d 887 (5th Cir. 2012);
- Jacquelyn Callegan-Salvato v. Nottoway Plantation, Inc., No. 11-00427, United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana;
- Turner v. Kansas City Southern Ry. Co., 622 F.Supp.2d 374 (E.D.La. 2009);
- Gelin v. The Housing Authority Of New Orleans, 456 F.3d 525 (5th Cir. 2006);
- Sampract v. Dean Bentley, (USDC for the Western District of LA, No.1:03cv579);
- Richard Koonce v. All Star Advertising Agency, Inc. d/b/a All Star Automotive Group, (U. S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana, Civil Action No. 09-920-RET-SCR); and
- Clifton Lemoine v. Oak Park Health Care Center, L.L.C., (United States District Court for the Western District, Civil Action No. 06-0351).
Successfully prosecuted and defended many claims for breach of employment contracts, including claims to enforce non-competition, anti-raiding and confidentiality clauses.
Represented manufacturing defendants in workplace exposure claims.
Represented public agencies in numerous employee termination appeals to the Louisiana Civil Service Commission and represented management in union arbitration proceedings.
Advises numerous clients regarding employment practices and policies, agreements, terminations and related compensation issues.
Represented a public housing agency, insurance companies and other business defendants in commercial and other class action proceedings, and has successfully defended against class certification. E.g., Anderson v. U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, 554 F.3d 525 (5th Cir. 2008).
Obtained a summary judgment in favor of a Louisiana industrial plant, dismissing damages claims in excess of $50,000,000.
Professional & Civic Activities
Professional and Civic Activities
- Board of Directors of Advocates for Arts-Based Education, a nonprofit corporation that operates the Lusher Charter Schools in New Orleans, 2005 – present.
- Executive Council of the Louisiana State Bar Association Labor & Employment Section 2006 – 2014.
- Board of Advisors for Ozanam Inn, a shelter and service provider for the homeless, 2007 – 2012.
- President of the Board of Directors of Rebuilding Our Community, Inc., a nonprofit organization working to assist with rebuilding efforts in New Orleans after Katrina, 2007 – 2009.
- Board Member and Secretary of New Orleans Computer Access Program, a charitable organization that provided personal computers and training to disadvantaged New Orleans Public School first grade students and their parents, 2000 – 2005.
- Judge pro tempore for the First City Court of Orleans Parish on multiple occasions from 1999-2009.
- Rachel is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Tulane University Law School and teaches Negotiation & Mediation Advocacy.
Honors & Awards
Honors & Awards
- Litigation Counsel of America Fellow.
- American Bar Foundation Fellow.
- Benchmark Litigation "Future Star" 2020.
- Best Lawyers in America 2008 – 2021.
- Chambers and Partners 2013 – 2020.
- Louisiana Super Lawyers 2009 – 2021.
- Top 25 Women Lawyers in Louisiana 2011, 2012, and 2018.
- New Orleans Magazine "Top Lawyer" 2012 – 2020.
- New Orleans CityBusiness 2010 Leadership in Law honoree.
- New Orleans CityBusiness Woman of the Year 2008.
News & Events
- Rachel Wisdom to Speak on the Impact of Windsor and Obergefell and Emerging LGBT Issues in the Louisiana Workplace03.11.2016
- Rachel Wisdom, Kathryn Knight and Nicholas Wehlen to Speak at the Louisiana Pest Management Association Summer Convention06.18.2014
In the News
Employment Basics, New Orleans BioInnovation Center, September 2017.
Labor and Employment Law for Business Attorneys, National Business Institute Seminar, June 2017.
Beyond the Bathrooms: A Focus on Transgender Rights, New Orleans Bar Association, June 2016.
The Impact of Windsor and Obergefell on Employee Rights/Employer Obligations and Emerging LGBT Issues in the Louisiana Workplace, Current Developments in Labor & Employment Law CLE program, March 2016.
Marriage Equality and its Effects in Louisiana, New Orleans Bar Association Procrastinators' Program, December 2015.
Emerging LGBT Issues in the Work Place, Essential Issues Affecting In-House and Corporate Counsel CLE program, September 2015.
Marriage Equality and its Effects in Louisiana, New Orleans Bar Association CLE program, July 2015.
Coverage Issues and the Small Employer, New Orleans Bar Association Procrastinators' Program, December 2014.
Emerging LGBT Issues in the Workplace, Louisiana State Bar Association's Annual Employment Law Seminar, August 2014.
Insurance Issues and Non-Compete Agreements, Louisiana Pest Management Association Summer Convention, June 2014.
Gay Rights in the Louisiana Workplace, Louisiana State University Current Developments in Labor and Employment Law seminar, March 2014.
Gay and Same-Sex Rights in the Louisiana Workplace, Human Resources Association of New Orleans March Luncheon, March 2014.
Tips for Defending Discrimination Suits Brought by the EEOC, New Orleans Bar Association Litigation Strategies Seminar, November 2013.
Evolving Issues Under the FLSA, Federal Bar Association 2013 Labor & Employment Law Conference, May 2013.
Perils of Digital Technology: Guidance for Employers, Louisiana State Bar Association Section on Labor & Employment Law, Seminar, March 2012.
Coverage Issues and the Small Employer, Louisiana State Bar Association Section on Labor & Employment Law, Seminar, March 2010.
Ethical Issues in Employment Multi-Party Litigation: Defense Perspective, Louisiana State Bar Association Section on Labor & Employment Law, Seminar, March 2008.
Working Overtime under the FLSA, New Orleans Bar Association Sports Law Forum, June 2005.
The Admissibility of Electronic Evidence, Evidence 101 Seminar, Oct. 2003.
- Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 127 S.Ct. 2162, 167 L.Ed. 2d 982 (2007): A Question of Timing, American Bar Association, New Orleans EEO Committee, January 2008.
- Home Health Aides Remain Excluded From Minimum and Overtime Wage Requirements, Louisiana Bar Journal, Vol. 55 No. 3, Oct/Nov 2007 (Labor and Employment Law Section Recent Developments Section).
- EEOC V. Sidley & Austin: Power and Control,The Woman Advocate, Vol. 11 No. 3, Spring 2006 (Woman Advocate Committee, Section of Litigation, American Bar Association).
- Rodriguez v. ConAgra, 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 565 (5th Cir. 1/10/06): A More Lenient Standard for Physical Disability Discrimination Claims Than For Those Involving Psychological Disabilities?, Louisiana Bar Journal, Vol. 53 No. 5, Feb/Mar 2006 (Labor and Employment Law Section Recent Developments Section).
- Louisiana Federal and State Courts
Tulane University Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 1990
- Order of the Coif
- Notes and Comments Editor, Tulane Law Review, 1989-90
Tulane University, magna cum laude, with departmental honors, 1984
- Phi Beta Kappa
L'Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, 1982-83
- Judicial law clerk to the Honorable Martin L.C. Feldman, U.S. District Court, 1990-91.