Dana Rust


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  • University of Virginia School of Law, JD, Member, Editorial Board, Virginia Law Review
  • The College of William & Mary, BA
  • Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Dana graduated from the College of William and Mary and received his J.D. from the University of Virginia where he was a member of the Virginia Law Review. Upon graduation, he clerked for the Honorable Robert Beezer of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Seattle, Washington. After completing his judicial clerkship, he joined McGuireWoods, where he has concentrated exclusively in the areas of labor and employment law. As described below, he has significant experience in multiple practice areas in this field.

Senior Executive Disputes

Senior Executives trust Dana to handle their most sensitive matters. Dana has led internal investigations involving claims of discrimination brought by C-Suite executives. He has litigated claims for breach of severance, “change in control” and other executive employment agreements. He has defended employers charged with violating “top hat” ERISA plans, which are reserved for select, highly-compensated executives.  While the bulk of Dana’s work has been on behalf of employers, Dana also has negotiated severance and exit packages for high level executives.

Employment Litigation

Dana is an experienced litigator in the employment discrimination area, having handled hundreds of discrimination cases and charges of discrimination in state and federal courts and administrative agencies throughout the country. He has tried to verdict age discrimination, sex discrimination, race discrimination, Equal Pay Act, Family Medical Leave Act, workplace defamation and disability discrimination cases. He has litigated Title VII class actions in federal court and before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Traditional Labor

Dana regularly represents unionized employers. This experience includes negotiating collective bargaining agreements, defending unfair labor practice charges and defending arbitrations. Dana also counsels employers on how to remain union-free and represents employers in NLRB-sponsored elections.


Dana defends employers in both pension and welfare benefit litigation. Representative cases include class action pension benefit litigation and single plaintiff claims for pension benefits, severance pay, disability and health benefits. He is experienced defending claims alleging breach of change in control severance pay plans.

Noncompete/Trade Secret Litigation

Dana represents employers as both plaintiffs and defendants in claims involving breach of noncompete agreements, theft of trade secrets and employee raiding. He is experienced in the use of forensic computer evidence to prove the improper taking and use of electronic information.


Dana has represented employers before the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration and state OSHA agencies. He has tried cases before OSHA and MSHA administrative law judges. His expertise includes manufacturing and construction companies and he has represented employers in several cases involving workplace fatalities. He tried the first OSHA whistleblower case brought by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry.


Dana regularly counsels employers in all aspects of the employment relationship including layoffs, plant closings, the discipline and termination of union and nonunion employees, compliance with Title VII, the ADA, the FMLA, the WARN Act and the handling of OSHA and MSHA inspections. He also regularly assists employers in the drafting of policies and procedures, noncompete, employment and separation agreements.

Firm Leadership

Dana has also held high level leadership positions at McGuireWoods. He served on the Firm’s Board of Partners for six years. He also chaired the Firm’s Finance Committee for many years.

In the News

Dana Rust
T: +1 804 775 1082F: +1 804 698 2158Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

Representation of global company in age discrimination case in federal court in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Court granted motion for judgment as a matter of law at trial after presentation of plaintiff’s case.

Jury verdict for one of the nation’s largest banks in federal court in Richmond, Virginia in a workplace defamation claim.

Defense verdict for top-hat pension plan following a bench trial where participant in plan challenged benefit calculation.

Defense verdict for healthcare company in OSHA whistleblower case following a bench trial in Virginia state court.

Representation of global company in FMLA termination case in federal court in Detroit resulting in jury verdict for defense.

Negotiation of collective bargaining agreements for international company with operations in Boston, New York and Indiana. Some of these agreements provide for performance-based pay increases in lieu of automatic across-the-board pay increases.

Summary judgment for arms company in ADA and FMLA case in Kentucky state court.

Summary judgment for national bank in ADA and FMLA case in federal court in Roanoke, Virginia.

Jury verdict for defendant paper company in disability discrimination case in Massachusetts state court.

Representation of global company in class action ERISA case seeking shutdown pension benefits.

Jury verdict for national grocery store chain in race discrimination case in federal court in Richmond, Virginia.

Representation of manufacturer in OSHA enforcement action in Illinois. Trial resulted in dismissal of willful citations against defendant.

Representation of international company in ERISA pension benefit case in which plaintiff, a foreign national who had worked for defendant in U.S., sought benefits under U.S. pension plan.

Obtained injunctive relief for transportation company in federal court in Kansas City for theft of trade secrets by senior engineer.

Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Employment Law-Management, Labor Law-Management, Labor and Employment Litigation, Woodward/White, Inc., 2006-2018

Named a "Leader in the Field," Employment Law, Virginia, Chambers USA, 2005, 2006

Named to "Legal Elite," Labor and Employment, Virginia Business Magazine

Named to "Virginia Super Lawyers," Employment and Labor, Employee Benefits/ERISA, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2006-2017

AV Rated, Martindale-Hubbell