Labor and Employment

Rogge Dunn Group, PC is an employment law and business litigation trial boutique. Three of the Firm’s attorneys are Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization: Rogge Dunn, Bryan Collins and Joshua Iacuone.

We try cases in state and federal courts in Texas and around the United States. Our lawyers also represent employers in mediations, arbitrations and administrative proceeding before the EEOC, the Department of Labor and the Texas Workforce Commission. Our trial experience allows us to counsel clients about how to prevent problems before they occur and how to minimize litigation risks.

We offer each client experienced, ethical and effective representation in all areas of employment litigation.

Testimonials

“When an activist investor bought a controlling stake in the company, I knew I was in for a fight. They fired me, triggering Change in Control benefits. They refused to pay my CIC benefits, falsely accused me of poison pill tactics and sued me personally for $9.4 million.”

“Then they waged a PR campaign against me. Rogge and I fought back and the day we started trial, they settled and paid me $2.8 million–a $12.2 million swing in my favor. And, my reputation was vindicated in a New York Times article.”

Ronnie Parker, Former CEO, Pizza Inn (Dallas)

“Rogge, thanks for making my transition from American to United a smooth, short and affordable flight.”

Scott Kirby, President, United Airlines (Chicago)

“Rogge successfully enforced a non-compete for our company. When the former employee counter-claimed against us, Rogge’s cross-examination at trial destroyed his case and enabled LODESTAR to win a great result.”

“I have worked with some of the top lawyers in New York and Boston. Rogge’s trial skills are among the best I’ve seen.”

Lori Lynn, Former VP and Corporate Counsel, LODESTAR Corporation (Boston)

“When I needed a top notch attorney for advice on my employment contract, I chose Rogge. He was knowledgeable and very responsive. He protected my economic interests and professional reputation.”

Buck Showalter, Former Manager, Baltimore Orioles (Baltimore)

“Rogge is well known for  helping C-level executives negotiate contracts and non-compete issues. Not only is he a good negotiator, he’s also an excellent trial attorney.”

“I had the opportunity to observe him in action in a mock trial and it’s comforting to know that if litigation is necessary,  the same person who drafted an executive contract has the skills necessary to persuade a jury that the contract is valid and fair.”

Fred Perpall, CEO, Beck (Dallas)

“When I decided to prepare a secession plan, I sought Rogge’s advice. He has extensive experience helping C-level executives at major companies.”

“Rogge helped me negotiate key exit provisions to protect my equity interests and ensure a smooth transition to safeguard the bank and its shareholders. I’ve also sought Rogge’s help on the front end to negotiate an executive contract with equity awards.”

George Jones, Former CEO and Co-Founder, Texas Capital Bancshares (Dallas)

“When it came time for me to sell my interests in the restaurant chain I created, it was important to leave the right way. Not only did Rogge protect my financial interests, he made the transition smooth and professional for all concerned.”

Buster Corley, Founder and Former Co-Owner, Dave & Busters (Dallas)

“Due to a historical anachronism, dozens of Peace Officers working for the City were classified as Park Rangers, not Dallas Police Officers.  This prevented us from obtaining promotions and  benefits Dallas Police Officer’s enjoyed. We hired an attorney who filed a class action lawsuit and lost.”

“We hired Rogge. He took our case on a contingent fee against all odds. He tried a new strategy and obtained a tremendous settlement. On top of that, when the case settled, Rogge reduced his fee. Rogge, I can’t thank you enough for your dedication to our group and for the great result.”

Nick Novello, Dallas Police Officer (Dallas)

Expertise backed by experience in all of the following areas:

  • Non-Competes & Non-Solicits

    Rogge Dunn Group attorneys draft confidentiality/nondisclosure agreements and covenants not to compete to protect our clients’ trade secrets and other intellectual property. We advise companies about how to handle hiring decisions and job changes to avoid claims for misappropriation and tortious interference.
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    Rogge Dunn Group attorneys draft confidentiality/nondisclosure agreements and covenants not to compete to protect our clients’ trade secrets and other intellectual property. We advise companies about how to handle hiring decisions and job changes to avoid claims for misappropriation and tortious interference. When claims arise concerning the improper use or disclosure of confidential information, customer solicitation or violation of a covenant not to compete, Rogge Dunn Group, PC lawyers can quickly investigate the facts, evaluate options and take the necessary actions. We negotiate solutions that allow our clients to accomplish their business objectives and avoid the courtroom. Some disputes, however, must be litigated. Our attorneys regularly obtain and defend against temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions.

  • Executive Employment Contracts

    Our attorneys routinely negotiate, draft and analyze employment agreements, benefit packages, independent contractor agreements, employee handbooks and separation/severance agreements on behalf of corporate clients.
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    Our attorneys routinely negotiate, draft and analyze employment agreements, benefit packages, independent contractor agreements, employee handbooks and separation/severance agreements on behalf of corporate clients. Rogge Dunn Group attorneys believe that proper contract drafting can help our clients avoid future contract disputes.

  • Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation

    Case law is continually changing, imposing new obligations on both employers and employees regarding workplace conduct. We help employees pursue claims and assist employers defending claims. Our experience of seeing these cases from both sides gives us insight into what the other side is thinking and enables us to implement effective strategies and tactics.
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    Today’s diverse workplace requires employers to know the evolving laws concerning discrimination and harassment. State and federal laws prohibit discrimination and harassment based on protected classes such as race, sex, religion, disability, age and recently trans-gender status.

    We help employees pursue claims and assist employers defending claims.  Our experience of seeing these cases from both sides gives us insight into what the other side is thinking and enables us to implement effective strategies and tactics.

    Case law is continually changing, imposing new obligations on both employers and employees regarding workplace conduct. Rogge Dunn Group lawyers have litigated cases involving all categories of discrimination, harassment and retaliation. We also counsel our clients on preventive measures, including policies, training, performance appraisals, discipline and investigations.

    Companies have hired us to provide sensitivity and other training to comply with training ordered by the EEOC.

    Federal and state statutes prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who engage in protected activity to oppose discrimination, harassment or violation of other employment laws regarding overtime, family/medical leave and corporate governance. Rogge Dunn Group lawyers help employers minimize legal risks. We offer practical advice designed to provide effective solutions that permit our clients to achieve business objectives while reducing the chance of lawsuits.

  • Severance Negotiations

    Over 30+ years we have helped thousands of employees and executives negotiate the best severance terms achievable. Whether we work "behind the scenes" or "front and center," we know what works, what doesn’t and how to best position you for the next chapter in your career.
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    Severance is a serious issue.  For many, losing a job is as emotionally devastating as a divorce.  When exploring your options, you need an objective, steady-hand to guide you through this painful, but important process to ensure you receive the compensation, benefits, and positive reference necessary to protect your future.

    Many employees and attorneys make the mistake of focusing only on the amount to be paid as severance.  The monetary payment is only one aspect of severance negotiations.  A good reference, accelerated vesting of deferred compensation, exceptions from non-compete covenants and other non-monetary terms are often more valuable to your career and future than simply more money.

    We take a holistic approach to your departure and severance negotiations.  A smart strategy addresses more than money, it includes severance terms that will best position you to find a new job and protect your reputation and advance your career.  In short, a successful severance negotiation focuses on both short and long-term goals.

    Over 30+ years we have helped thousands of employees and executives negotiate the best severance terms achievable. Whether we work “behind the scenes” or “front and center,” we know what works, what doesn’t and how to best position you for the next chapter in your career.

  • Whistleblowing & Qui Tam

    When you face issues regarding whistleblowing and Qui Tam, we provide you with the experience and perspective of attorneys who have handled these types of cases from the investigative stage all the way through trial.
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    More and more employees and executives are stepping forward and alleging wrongdoing, claiming that their employer committed fraud, or violated government laws regulating financial reporting and other corporate governance issues.  These laws run the gamut from federal and state statutes protecting employees in various industries to the Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd Frank Acts. These laws are extensive and many carry big fines, penalties and criminal liability.

    In addition to federal and state statutes governing whistleblowers, the Texas Supreme Court created the  Sabine Pilot doctrine.  That Texas law provides that an employee who is fired for refusing to perform an illegal act that carries criminal penalties can sue their former employer for wrongful discharge.

    We went to trial on a Sabine Pilot whistleblowing case back in 1992 and since then have gone all the way to trial on other whistleblowing and Qui Tam cases.  When you face these issues, we provide you with the experience and perspective of attorneys who have handled whistleblowing cases from the investigative stage all the way through trial.

  • Commission Disputes

    We have extensive experience helping companies and individuals with commission disputes. We also assist companies on the front end to draft clear and enforceable commission and bonus plans.
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    We have extensive experience helping companies and individuals with commission disputes.  These range from real estate deals, joint venture projects,  whether or not  commission payment structures can be changed and what commissions are owed to a salesperson and/or independent contractor if they are fired or quit; and, what commissions, if any,  are owed for ”deals in the pipeline.”  We have been involved in lawsuits concerning  Chapter 54 of Texas law, which governs commission disputes.

    We also assist companies on the front end  draft clear and enforceable commission and bonus plans. It doesn’t cost much money to draft a quality plan that does not have gray areas.  Gray areas lead to confusion,  anger among salespeople, poor employee morale and,  worst of all, DOL investigations or  lawsuits. Companies adhering to best practices have an attorney review their commission plan once a year to be sure it complies with new Texas or federal laws. It’s kind of like going to a doctor for your yearly physical/checkup.

    SUMMARY OF TEXAS COMMISSION AND BONUS LAWS

    In most states companies have substantial discretion to change their commission structures and or bonuses. However, when those changes reduce commissions on deals that have closed, which arguably the employee or independent contractor has already earned, the employer can get into trouble and/or be liable for payment of those “earned” commissions.

    Disputes also arise when an employer’s bonus/commission plan states that you forfeit your right to payment of commissions or bonuses, if you are not employed/an independent contractor on the date that the payments are due to be paid.  This is typically called a “you must be present to win” provision.

    Disputes arise when an employee or contractor continues working after a company announces changes to its payment structure that reduce commissions. If the salesperson does not object in writing and continues to work after notice of the changes, many times the salesperson will waive his or her rights to the old, higher commission structure.

    Another situation that leads to disputes and legal claims occurs when a salesperson is fired or quits prior to the time that commissions/bonuses have been paid. In that situation several factors are relevant regarding whether or not there is a legal obligation to pay a commission/bonus:

    • Is the plan in writing
    • Are the terns on how you earn and are paid commission/bonuses, unequivocal or ambiguous
    • How are the earning of commissions or bonuses are defined
    • What facts determine whether or not a sale is final and the commission is earned
    • Are there any claw back provisions such that a sale that was initially made and is later canceled by the customer

    Even when a plan is not in writing, commissions may be legally owed if there has been a long-standing custom, pattern or practice of paying commissions or bonuses under particular circumstances. If an employer consistently makes payments and then doesn’t pay one particular individual that could lead to the employer being liable for illegal discrimination. What can make these cases time-consuming and unpredictable is that they are often based on the particular facts of a particular situation, which will vary between companies paying commissions and also very over time within a particular company.

    Even if a plan is clear, under certain circumstances,  a contractor or employee may be able to recover the commissions or a cash equivalent under other legal theories. These legal theories are based on the principles of fairness and equity. The legal terms are recovering damages under causes of action for  ”promissory estoppel,”  “unjust enrichment”  and/or “quantum meruit.”

    In addition, if a company is intentionally acting in bad faith and/or trying to trick salespeople regarding a commission or bonus plan, a salesperson may be able to pursue a fraud claim. However, it is more difficult generally to win a fraud claim than a claim based on fairness and equity.

    Six  Key Takeaways

    1. If you are a company paying commissions or bonuses, put your plan in writing so there is no misunderstanding, confusion or mistakes
    2. If you are entitled to receive commissions or bonuses, obtain a copy of the plan and if the metrics or provisions are unclear, get a manager to clarify–in writing–any uncertainties
    3. If you resign prior to the date the commission is paid, you are at risk for not receiving your commissions
    4. Poorly worded or confusing metrics and provisions about payment of commissions/bonuses can be held against a company, if the company wrote the plan– so companies should take time to get it right
    5. A company should be consistent with regard to payment of commissions and bonuses—inconsistencies can subject the employer to liability for discrimination claims
    6. If a company does not have a clear written plan, then they may unwittingly become liable to pay bonuses and commissions based on custom, pattern or practice.
  • Defamation

    We have handled defamation cases to force the removal of defamatory statements from the internet as well as winning a six figure settlement for a radio personality. We also partner with a team of technology experts to purge the internet of negative information.
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    As someone once told Rogge when he was a young lawyer, it takes years to build a strong client relationship, and only one mistake to ruin that relationship.  In this social media age in which we live, defamatory or negative comments about individuals or their businesses can quickly destroy a reputation and severely damage business interests.  And, it can have a devastating impact on your personal life, creating problems at home as well as getting you kicked off charity and business boards.

    Defamation law is confusing and convoluted.  Generally, people have freedom of speech, but when they make defamatory statements or attack someone with malicious intent, they can be sued.  Defenses include that the statements are true, or privileged because those statements were made to people with a business need to know.

    In addition, these cases are made more difficult when made by anonymous posters on Google, Yelp and other websites.

    People injured by defamatory posts, false statements or a “whispering campaign” need to proceed carefully.  Anti-Slapp laws often protect individuals who speak out from being sued for defamation.

    We have handled defamation cases on both sides of this issue and forced the removal of defamatory statements from the internet as well as winning a six figure settlement for a radio personality.  We also partner with a team of technology experts to purge the internet of negative information.

    Individuals accused of defamation face a significant risk.  Defamation lawsuits have recently garnered national attention showing that juries will award big damages to people who disseminate lies and defamatory comments.  These include the West Point graduate who won a $8.4 million verdict, the Dallas wedding photographer who obtained a $1.08 million verdict and Taylor Swift’s defeat of a radio personality’s $3 million claim and a symbolic award to Swift of $1 for defamation

  • OSHA, EEOC, DOL, NLRB Investigations

    Successfully resolving government inquiries requires more than subject matter knowledge. One has to have good common sense and understand the dynamics of dealing with government bureaucrats. We maintain good relations with these authorities, which helps us broker good settlements; or, when necessary, fight the enforcement action in court.
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    Dealing with an investigation or enforcement action by the EEOC, DOL, NLRB or OSHA is never fun.  The government has an unlimited budget and all too often investigators are trying to find a violation and impose a big fine.  Successfully resolving government inquiries requires more than subject matter knowledge.  One has to have good common sense and understand the dynamics of dealing with government bureaucrats.  We maintain good relations with these authorities, which helps us broker good settlements; or, when necessary, fight the enforcement action in court.

    A representative sample of our results for clients and representative matters we handle in this area include:

    • Obtained no cause dismissal of Sarbanes-Oxley complaint DOL brought, exonerating Fortune 150 company
    • DOL sought $1,060,000 in back wages and fines from our Client. We quickly negotiated the payment down to only $1,900
    • TWC imposed personal liability on a company owner for more than $100,000. He turned to us for help.  We fought the TWC’s ruling in court and completely vindicated our client–he ended up owing nothing
    • Successful defense of company with 300 stores in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma in wage and hour enforcement action brought by DOL
    • Successful defense of numerous employment claims filed with DOL in North Texas against Fortune global 6 company
    • Successful resolution for employer of TWC enforcement action for alleged improper withholding of wages from manager’s last paycheck
  • Wage & Overtime Claims

    Rogge Dunn Group lawyers regularly handle litigation involving wage and hour claims, including overtime and minimum wage and overtime class action lawsuits. We represent clients in wage and hour audits conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor and Texas Workforce Commission.
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    Rogge Dunn Group lawyers regularly handle litigation involving wage and hour claims, including overtime and minimum wage and overtime class action lawsuits. We represent clients in wage and hour audits conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor and Texas Workforce Commission.

    We have effectively negotiated resolution of adverse DOL determinations to avoid civil penalties and interest. Our firm works with clients to design payroll procedures that minimize the risk of overtime or minimum wage claims. We have extensive experience representing clients in industries that experience increased regulatory scrutiny, including the restaurant and hospitality, janitorial and retail industries.

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