Dana Rust Partner

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To borrow a phrase from baseball, Dana is a five-tool player in the labor and employment field, bringing over 30 years of experience in employment litigation, labor negotiations, ERISA litigation, noncompete disputes and OSHA enforcement.

Dana is a seasoned trial lawyer, a trusted counselor to senior executives and general counsel, and a skilled negotiator. He has handled numerous sensitive and significant disputes within the C-suite, including severance and pension claims brought by senior executives as well as discrimination and retaliation complaints.

Dana earned his undergraduate degree at the College of William & Mary, and his law degree at the University of Virginia, where he was a member of the Law Review. Following law school, he clerked for Judge Robert Beezer of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in Seattle.

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 and 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. He has successfully represented employers assessed withdrawal liability from multi-employer 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 has tried cases in this area in both federal court and in arbitration. 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 experience 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.

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.

Pro Bono

Dana serves on the Board of Directors of CrossOver Healthcare Ministry, which provides high-quality subsidized healthcare for Richmond’s working underprivileged community through a network of volunteer doctors and nurses. Dana also serves on the Board of Directors of the Children’s Home Society Memorial Fund. The Children’s Home Society is one of Virginia’s oldest adoption agencies. In addition to finding homes for children of all ages, the organization provides housing, life skills training and counseling for youth who have aged out of the foster care system.


  • 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.