John E. Thomas Jr. Associate

John represents businesses in matters across the spectrum of employment law. He is a first-chair trial lawyer with a successful record arguing employment issues before the Supreme Court of Virginia.

John’s practice focuses on representing employers in disputes involving misappropriation of trade secrets, covenants not to compete, breaches of contract, and defamation as well as the host of employment statutes such as wage-and-hour laws (the FLSA and state laws), leave laws (the FMLA and state laws), and discrimination statutes (like Title VII, the ADA, the ADEA, and state laws). Representative clients include those in defense, banking, healthcare, community property management, wastewater management, and legal industries. John currently serves as the elected co-chair for the Labor & Employment section of the Fairfax Bar Association.

In addition to resolving disputes through litigation, arbitration, and mediation, John devotes significant time to counseling HR professionals and in-house counsel through difficult employment-related issues, including terminations, severance agreements, employment contracts, and lay-offs. He regularly advises clients on implementing drug-testing policies that comply with changing cannabis laws. He offers a practical eye toward revising policies and handbooks and messaging difficult decisions to employees; in fact, John is the author of An Employer’s Guide to D.C. Employment Statutes, a comprehensive online guide to help companies navigate Washington, D.C.’s complex employment laws.

Prior to joining McGuireWoods, John held the role of special assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. His experience also includes serving as pro se law clerk for the Honorable M. Hannah Lauck of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, judicial intern for the Honorable Michael F. Urbanski of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, and law clerk in the U.S. Department of Justice.

John is an active member of his community. He has served as President of the Board of Directors for the Tysons Corner Children's Center, a local nonprofit, and is the past Secretary for the Board of Trustees for the Kiwanis Foundation of Tysons Corner/McLean. John also serves as a mentor with the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) for law students to help foster inclusivity in the profession. He is a recipient of the McGuireWoods Excellence Award for his pro bono contributions and the National Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Service Award.

Experience

Obtained victory in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for large information technology government contractor in age discrimination and retaliation claims made by former executive.

Obtained judgment at trial in the Fairfax County Circuit Court in favor of large association-management company in claim by former executive for breach of contract.

Obtained judgment in favor of publicly traded corporation on claim by former salesperson of breach of contract for unpaid commissions in an arbitration applying D.C. and Maryland law.

Obtained summary judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in favor of large government contractor on claims of age discrimination and retaliation made by former executive.

Obtained summary judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in favor of large government contractor on a former employee’s claims of disability discrimination.

Obtained unanimous win in the Supreme Court of Virginia in dispute regarding pleading standard for claims of attorneys’ fees.

Obtained preliminary injunction in the Fairfax County Circuit Court in favor of large government contractor against former executive for misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of restrictive covenants, and successfully defended the injunction on review before the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Obtained summary judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in multi-plaintiff wage-and-hour lawsuit against large government contractor.

Obtained summary judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia for publicly traded corporation involving allegations by former executive of disability discrimination.

Represent companies in sensitive investigations conducted by government agencies involving wage-and-hour, leave-law, and employment retaliation risks.

  • Washington and Lee University School of Law, JD, cum laude, Lead Articles Editor, Washington and Lee Law Review, 2010
  • Middle Tennessee State University, BS, magna cum laude, 2006

Member, Virginia Bar Association

Member, D.C. Bar Association

Co-Chair, Labor & Employment Section, Fairfax Bar Association

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • 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 District of Columbia

Selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, Litigation - Labor and Employment, 2022

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