Todd Leeson, Gentry Locke attorney

Todd A. Leeson

Legal Assistant
Ginger Smithers540.983.9343
Cindy Bates540.983.9358
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Todd Leeson is the Chair of Gentry Locke’s Employment law practice group. He has almost 35 years of experience representing and advising Virginia employers in employment and labor law matters and litigation. He regularly defends employment claims in Virginia courts and before agencies including the EEOC, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), DOL, OSHA (whistleblower and retaliation claims), and the corresponding Virginia agencies (DOLI, OCR).  His experience includes the defense of companies as to alleged violations of Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FLSA, FMLA, the NLRA, and Virginia employment laws. Todd regularly drafts, enforces, and/or litigates non-compete agreements and executive employment contracts. In addition, he has considerable experience representing management in labor union matters including union avoidance campaigns, unfair labor practice charges and labor arbitrations. He also represents Virginia colleges in various student conduct matters including Title IX and sexual misconduct complaints.

Todd is rated “AV/Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell, is repeatedly named one of the Best Lawyers in America in Labor & Employment Law, and has regularly been named to various lists, including Virginia Legal Elite.  As recent examples, in 2022, Virginia Lawyers Weekly named Todd a “Go-To Lawyer for Employment Law, and in 2022 Best Lawyers in America named Todd the “Lawyer of the Year” (Labor law-management) in Roanoke.  Todd was also honored by Virginia Lawyers Weekly in 2021 as a “Leader in the Law.”

  • EEOC charges defended
  • Glorious days visiting Japan in 2023
  • Miles a week I spin cycle at YMCA
  • Federal cases handled in W. District of Virginia
  • What might you be doing professionally if you were not a lawyer?

    I grew up in Pittsburgh playing football, basketball and baseball, and then enjoyed much success playing football at William & Mary. My passion for sports continues. If I was not a lawyer, I would likely be an executive in the sports industry, a broadcaster, or a coach.

  • Tell us about your latest fitness obsession.

    I rejoined our local YMCA and discovered spin cycle classes. It is an intense and efficient workout.

  • What’s the first thing you do in the morning?

    While I have the latest devices and have entered the world of twitter for news updates, I still prefer starting my day reading a printed newspaper while drinking my first cup of coffee. I cannot start my day without them.

  • How would your friends and family describe you?

    Relentlessly positive and energetic. I enjoy people and regularly engage persons in conversations whom I do not know. (My wife and kids think I am a little strange.) I think that they would also describe me as a person of high integrity.


  • University of Notre Dame Law School, J.D. cum laude
  • College of William and Mary, B.A.


  • Represents employers in employment-related litigation in federal and state courts in Virginia
  • Has been counsel of record in over 90 employment cases in the Western District of Virginia
  • Extensive advice to employers on various COVID-19 workplace questions, disputes, and issues
  • Successfully defended companies in over 240 EEOC charges alleging various forms of harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation
  • Obtained partial summary judgment in Virginia state court in business conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duty employment case that led to $400,000 settlement for corporation.
  • Attained early dismissal or resolution of several OSHA whistleblower complaints including MAP-21, AIR-21, STAA and the FSMA
  • Led team of lawyers to persuade Federal Government, and opposing counsel, to voluntarily dismiss a False Claims Act Complaint filed against a local company
  • Trusted counsel to Board of Directors to negotiate separation of CEO
  • Achieved dismissal of wrongful termination case filed against a global manufacturer by a terminated safety manager
  • Obtained summary judgment of age discrimination case filed in Federal Court
  • Prevailed in grievance hearing before City personnel board in which board upheld significant discipline against long-service manager
  • Brokered settlement of challenging Title IX sexual misconduct case on behalf of college in which complainant and respondent had divergent interests
  • Collaborated with college counsel to respond to OCR discrimination complaint filed by former student;  OCR dismissed complaint
  • Defended local restaurant in FLSA collective action tip pooling lawsuit which was recently dismissed by the court
  • Moved to quash EEOC document subpoena resulting in dismissal of potential ADA class action
  • Obtained dismissal of joint employer Title VII case against local company
  • Negotiated early settlement of NLRB protected, concerted activity (PCA) case filed against local company
  • Worked with DOL officials to resolve overtime claims filed against area restaurant
  • Successful mediation of WARN Act cases filed against coal company
  • Prevailed in labor arbitration upholding management right to modify union employee’s work schedule
  • Successful defense of College in case in which student challenged suspension decision pursuant to College’s Student Conduct Code
  • Achieved favorable resolution of ADA termination lawsuit filed in Virginia Federal Court
  • Prosecution of business competition, trade secret, and business conspiracy case filed against global corporation who hired executive with various restrictive covenants
  • Obtained dismissal of FMLA claim investigated by DOL
  • Favorable resolution of a non-compete and non-solicitation case filed against a corporation and a newly-hired employee
  • Favorable early resolution of an ADA termination lawsuit filed against company by a senior executive
  • Successful defense in labor arbitration of management’s right to demote a union president
  • Attained summary dismissal of race and age discrimination case
  • Expediently resolved purported FLSA collective action case filed against a construction company
  • Advised company to withdraw recognition of longstanding union and prevailed on union challenge before the NLRB
  • Achieved early resolution of challenging federal whistleblower claim filed against corporation
  • Obtained summary judgment for nation’s largest retail pharmacy chain in ADA disability discrimination lawsuit
  • Represented one of the world’s leading wealth management companies that was sued in a non-compete case in Virginia
  • Successfully prosecuted trade secrets case resulting in $245,000 settlement for local manufacturer
  • Persuaded court to dismiss a noncompete and trade secret action filed against an employer that hired a key employee
  • Obtained summary judgment in sex discrimination lawsuit filed against global retailer with operation in Virginia
  • Procured summary judgment for Fortune 100 insurer in a race discrimination case filed in Roanoke
  • Retained by Executive Officer of Fortune 500 retailer to negotiate his executive employment contract with the Company
  • Successfully represented management in several Union labor arbitration cases involving discharge or contract interpretation issues
  • Acquired summary judgment for local college in tenure denial case
  • Litigated significant ULP case with NLRB involving potential back pay or reinstatement of 23 terminated employees; case resolved on favorable terms
  • Obtained summary judgment in ADA disability discrimination case against national bank
  • Achieved partial summary judgment for Fortune 500 automotive supplier in sexual harassment and retaliation case
  • Obtained defense verdict for local sheriff in race discrimination lawsuit; defense verdict affirmed on appeal
  • Procured dismissal of wrongful termination case filed against health care employer by terminated nurse
  • Obtained summary judgment for Fortune 500 company in Title VII equal pay case
  • Procured summary judgment for employer in FLSA overtime lawsuit
  • Represented several local businesses faced with Union organizing efforts and/or campaigns.
  • Successfully conciliated case against local construction company in which EEOC had found “cause” in support of EEOC charge
  • Obtained preliminary injunction for local software company in trade secrets and business conspiracy case
  • Successfully represented local utility company as to several unfair labor practice allegations filed against it with the National Labor Relations Board
  • Mediated employment-related cases on behalf of local companies in this region
  • Obtained dismissal of Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) case filed against one of the nation’s largest food service distribution companies
  • Achieved summary judgment in ADEA case arising out of reduction in force by local manufacturer
  • Negotiated conciliation of EEOC religious discrimination charge on behalf of large fast food restaurant
  • Successful defense of company in non-compete case in which company hired valuable executive from a competitor
  • Favorable resolution of trade secrets and business competition case of behalf of a company who sued departing employees and their new employer
  • Dismissal of ADA termination case filed against company by executive with alleged alcohol problems


  • Board of Directors, Jefferson Center (2023-Present)
  • Board of Directors, Downtown Roanoke, Inc. (2014-2023); Chair of board (2021-22)
  • Board of Directors, Family Service of Roanoke Valley (2016-2023); Chair of board (2020)
  • Council member, Labor Relations & Employment Law Section of Virginia Bar Association (2008-2013, new term beings Jan. 1, 2024)
  • Virginia State SHRM Legislative Director (2012-14)
  • Board member, Roanoke Valley SHRM (2007-2009); Past President (2000)
  • Board of Trustees, Taubman Museum of Art (2007-2012)
  • Board of Directors, Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce (2010-2012)
  • Elder, Salem Presbyterian Church (2011-2013, 2016-2018)
  • Member, Federal Bar Association (2011-Present)
  • Faculty Member, The Management Institute at Roanoke College (2011-Present)
  • Associate member, National Association of College and University Attorneys (2014-Present)
  • Past President, Downtown Roanoke Rotary Club (2004-2005)
  • Chair, Virginia State SHRM Conference (2002)
  • Member, Labor & Employment Section, American Bar Association (1989-2018)
  • Member, Labor & Employment Section, Virginia Bar Association (1989-Present)
  • Member and Past President, William & Mary Roanoke Alumni Association
  • Graduate, Trial Advocacy Institute of UVA Law School (2000)
  • Frequent speaker for SHRM, business and college groups in Virginia
  • Author of dozens of employment law articles


  • Named “Go-To Lawyer” for Employment Law by Virginia Lawyers Weekly (2022)
  • Named “Roanoke Lawyer of the Year” for Labor Law – Management (2022)
  • Named one of The Best Lawyers in America® in the areas of Employment Law – Management (2011-2024), Labor & Employment Litigation (2011-2024), and Labor Law – Management (2019-2024)
  • Designated one of the “Legal Elite” in the Labor/Employment law by Virginia Business magazine (2016-2017, 2019-2023)
  • Named a “Leader in the Law” by Virginia Lawyers Weekly (2021)
  • Designated a Virginia Super Lawyer in the area of Employment & Labor Law (2014-2019) and Super Lawyers Business Edition US in the area of Employment & Labor (2014)
  • Named a “Legal Eagle” for Employment Law – Management and Litigation – Labor & Employment by Virginia Living magazine (2012)
  • Named a Top Rated Lawyer for Labor and Employment law by American Lawyer Media (2013)
  • VBA Community Servant with 50 hours or more of certified pro bono legal and nonlegal community service, The Virginia Bar Association (2004-2010)


  • award
The results of client matters depend on a variety of factors unique to each matter. Past successes do not predict or guarantee future successes.
Todd Leeson, Virginia partner with Gentry Locke