Employment

Daniel D. Swanson

Senior Shareholder

Direct Dial (248) 746-4046
Direct Fax
Email dswanson@sommerspc.com

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Dan Swanson has extensive experience in employment litigation, handling claims of breach of employment contract, non-competition agreements, discrimination (such race, age, sex, disability etc.), whistleblower claims, sales representative commission disputes, Family & Medical Leave Act claims, and other employment-related actions, as well as representing individuals in severance negotiations.

Dan’s practice is unique in that he represents both employees and employers across a number of industries such as automotive manufacturers and suppliers, vocational schools, computer sales and services companies, and food distributors. He also has substantial commercial litigation experience and this broad background informs his balanced perspective as a state court case evaluator for employment and complex commercial cases.

Along with his success in trying employment cases in federal and state courts, he is also very effective in alternative dispute resolution processes such as arbitration, facilitation, and mediation. A skilled negotiator, he frequently achieves his clients’ goals without the additional time and expense associated with litigation.

Imaginative and aggressive application of the law characterizes Dan’s philosophy, and his clients have described him as thoughtful, innovative, smart, caring, and responsive. Employment related disputes are often intense and personal, and his approach, knowledge of the law, ethics, and passionate advocacy is critical to his ability to effectively represent and secure favorable outcomes for his clients.

 
 

Education

Bar Admissions

  • State of Michigan

Areas of Practice

  • Obtaining two multimillion dollar trial verdicts.
  • "Best Lawyers in America" in Employment Law: 1995 to Present.
  • Top 100 Michigan Super Lawyers: 2006, 2008, 2010 .
  • Michigan Super Lawyers: 2006 to Presnet .
  • Elected to the Council of Labor and Employment: Section of the State Bar of Michigan (2004)..
  • American Constitutional Society, Board of Directors .
  • Author, "Damages from A to Z in Employment Actions: The Plaintiff's Perspective", The Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 33rd Annual Labor & Employment Law Institute Seminar.
  • American Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • State Bar of Michigan
  • Vice Chairperson, State Bar of Michigan Labor & Employment Law Section
  • Former Secretary and Council Member, State Bar of Michigan Labor & Employment Law Section
  • Michigan Association for Justice; Former Executive Board Member
  • Case Evaluator, Michigan State Courts
  • Oakland County Bar Association; Past Chair, Labor & Employment Section
  • American Constitution Society, former member of the Board of Directors
  • Birmingham Country Club, former officer and member of the Board of Directors
  • Cass Community Social Services
    • Chairman of the Board of Directors, 2014
    • Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, 2013
    • Member, Board of Directors, 2010 to present
  • Thomas Cooley Law School, Cooley Professionalism Advisory Committee

I was very satisfied with Mr. Swanson’s approach toward this matter, in particular his desire to understand the details and the relevant context, which allowed him to define the proper strategy, emphasize the right items and expedite the entire process.

I felt from the beginning that Dan and Tad had my back and that my best interests at were always at heart. All options and possible obstacles were clearly defined and repeated throughout the course of the litigation so that I was clear about my case at all times. I felt that within a short period of time, they fully understood my case, and advised me as to the best possible courses to take with the best possible outcomes.

After more than 20 years of service, the client, the senior vice president of labor relations of a nationwide company, was terminated in violation of his employment contract. Prior to filing a court action, the firm was able to secure a very favorable settlement of his claim for severance and other benefits. Subsequently, the client commented on Dan Swanson’s and Tad Roumayah’s efforts on his behalf:

Unlike several other firms I considered, Sommers Schwartz responded almost immediately to the email I sent briefly explaining my situation, and Tad vetted my concerns over the phone to determine I had a potentially viable claim. After determining that to be the case, he promptly arranged for a meeting to finalize his inquiries, determined there were substantial grounds to move forward and arrange for my meeting with you. I was particularly impressed with the fact that you quickly cut to the chase and were candid in discounting the aspects of the case that were less compelling despite my initially believing otherwise. In preparing me for the mediation, you forced me to do a critical self-examination as to my degree of culpability in the matter, correctly anticipating areas of concern the mediator may have. You were on a short list of attorney's I considered to represent me in this matter based on your standing in the legal community and I have no doubt that your reputation brought this matter to a resolution more expeditiously than a less highly regarded attorney would have been able to accomplish. I would absolutely consider using you if the need arises in the future and I will confidently recommend Sommers Schwartz to friends or family members in need of legal services.

The client, a sales manager at a Michigan manufacturer, was wrongfully discharged in violation of both state and federal anti-discrimination laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. Prior to commencing litigation, the firm negotiated a favorable severance package on his behalf. The client later commented on the services of his attorneys, Dan Swanson and Tad Roumayah:

I am more than reasonably satisfied with the outcome. The monetary consideration is one thing but the principle of the matter was very important to me. Civil rights were violated with discrimination. My character and integrity were in question. The dispute was settled in my favor and, with a great deal of my gratitude and respect for those of you in the legal profession. The scope and depth of the demand letter gave me all the confidence and comfort that my dispute would be managed by the best. It seems to me most all communications were timely and concrete, and I appreciate the team effort provided. On a very personal note I would like you gentlemen to know that for those of us that have been violated and need legal assistance, we must often wait for justice in quiet desperation. As such, the words I used above "confidence and comfort" came only from you and your team. This also gives meaning to the words: all comes to those who wait. Yes, I wanted to call you gentlemen more than once for updates! If I had a legal problem in the future, I would consider only calling your firm for assistance. I have already given a friend a recommendation to your firm.

The client, a human resource professional employed by a automobile manufacturer, was wrongfully discharged in violation of both state and federal anti-discrimination laws. Prior to commencing litigation, the firm negotiated a favorable severance package on the her behalf. She later commented on the services of her attorneys, Dan Swanson and Tad Roumayah:

We are pleased with the job that you have done for us, especially with respect to your thoroughness and professionalism! You both presented yourselves in a genuine and professional manner, and this is precisely why we retained you. In addition, communicating with you throughout this process was fluid and much appreciated.

The client, an investment banking analyst for a nationwide bank, was laid off by her employer. At the time of her lay off, her employer owed her funds under the company's bonus plan, which it subsequently refused to pay. Prior to commencing litigation, the firm negotiated a favorable severance package that allowed her to recover the money owed to her under the bonus plan. The client later commented on the services of her attorneys, Dan Swanson and Tad Roumayah.

I had a wonderful experience with you and Tad! I think that coming into your office, I was lacking a lot of knowledge about what my rights and options were with my former employer and I was very appreciative of how you presented all the facts and tools at my disposal. I think the outcome was great, in spite of my former employer's attempts at dodging the issue and I am extremely happy in my new position. I do not think I would have been in this new position if I had truly allowed the stress of the situation with my former employer get to me while I was interviewing. A big reason for which I was able to keep my stress levels down was that I knew you and Tad were on top of making sure that my former employer was held responsible. Overall a wonderful job and I will definitely recommend you to my friends in the Michigan area!

Client, a Chief Information Officer at a local law firm, was wrongfully discharged in violation of Michigan public policy after twenty-six years of loyal service to the firm. Prior to commencing litigation, Sommers Schwartz negotiated a favorable severance package on the client's behalf. Client later commented on the services of his attorneys, Mr. Dan Swanson and Mr. Tad Roumayah:

Dan, I was very satisfied with the services you and Tad provided to me. The most important item for me was you both responded to my questions and inquiries quickly. I appreciated that aspect of your service. I will recommend you and your firm's services to my friends and family. Thanks for your help.

Client, an automotive design professional, contracted with a staffing company to place her on a project with a major automobile manufacturer. The staffing company later breached the contract by prematurely terminating her from the project and causing her financial harm and damages. Tad Roumayah, her attorney at Sommers Schwartz, negotiated a settlement on her behalf without the need to commence litigation:

I am very satisfied with your actions and performance specifically: the way you handled me and my concerns, identified the breach of contract issue, the skillful way you laid out a plan of action and then negotiate it to a good end. Most impressive was your preparedness at our face to face meeting. You obviously took some time to understand my situation. You engaged me in meaningful conversation from the legal standpoint and presented my options, in a way that I could understand and therefore make an informed decision. I am most grateful for your patience as you guided me to that point of understanding fielding all of my questions and originations. In addition, you have become a valuable resource and trusted advisor that will be a part of my future. This experience has educated me as to how I will handle my work in a rapidly changing world and competitive business environment.

After the successful handling of a matter by Dan Swanson and Kevin Stoops, the client indicated:

Going through this process was a totally new experience for me, but the way you and your firm conducted it was certainly reassuring. Please extend my gratitude to all the people involved.

Executive employment contract case handled by Dan Swanson and Kevin Stoops:

I want to thank the both of you for the hard work you put in to our case. For me it was the first time I had ever been involved in litigation against anybody, was not sure what to expect and was worried about the out come. Throughout the process you both demonstrated understanding for the emotional roller coaster your clients were going through, keeping us on track until the conclusion of the case. Your advice and guidance were spot on... once again, thank you.

The client, an engineer at a Michigan utility company, was retaliated against after he complained to his employer about safety violations. After complaining about his employer's unlawful actions, he was transferred to another position and was ultimately fired. Prior to commencing litigation, the firm negotiated a favorable severance package on the client's behalf. The client later commented on the services of his attorneys, Dan Swanson and Tad Roumayah:

I wanted to thank you for your assistance in resolving the matter with my employer. I was impressed by yours and Tad's strengths, which included the following:

• You listened to my complaints and were able to determine what laws my employer violated.
• You kept me involved in the case and incorporated my opinions into the process.
• You were diligent in sifting through the documentation that I provided and also requested information from me to learn what I was saying and to clearly understand my perspective.
• You provided me with guidance on how I should act as your client and be part of the team.
• You were patient with me and asked your questions in various ways until you were sure that I understood your requests. As a result, I was able to provide you with all of the information that you needed.
• You had an exceptional grasp of the law.
• You were willing to support me either on an hourly basis, as a representative in arbitration or as a partner in litigation.
• You both have pleasant personalities and are enjoyable to associate with. I felt like we could be friends!

The client, the former Chief Financial Officer of a large automotive supplier, was wrongfully discharged after he "blew the whistle" on his employer for entering into a fraudulent loan transaction with another supplier. The firm filed suit on his behalf and the complaint alleged that the loan violated statutory lending laws. After extensive discovery, the case was successfully resolved at mediation. The client later commented on the services of his attorneys, Dan Swanson and Jesse Young:

I was very happy with the service you, Jesse and the firm provided. You guys handled yourself in a very professional manner and were true advocates for me during this entire process. I am sure you know better than I, but you guys are not only attorneys but also psychologists. You talked me in off the ledge at various times throughout the process when I had to hear first hand and see in writing the ludicrous statements made by the defendant. You, Jesse and your firm will always be in my good graces and I will certainly refer anyone that needs your help, not only in employment matters, but also other specialties.

The client, the former Chief Executive Officer of an company which provided employee vision insurance and operated retail stores offering eyewear and related services, was fired after she was falsely accused of embezzling company funds. At the time of her firing, she was on an FMLA medical leave. The firm filed suit on the client's behalf and engaged in extensive discovery. The disputed was subsequently resolved at a mediation hearing. Client later commented on the services of her attorneys, Dan Swanson and Jesse Young:

I felt your service was great; Jesse did a wonderful job and followed through with all my requests. I was very satisfied with Sommers Schwartz and will always remember you when a friend needs legal help. Thanks for a good job it could not have successful without you both.

The client, a long time public high school principal, was falsely accused of inappropriate conduct relative to school financial matters. After being placed on administrative leave, she was subsequently forced to resign her employment. She retained the firm to address issues regarding outstanding contractual and compensation issues. After an administrative hearing the matter was successfully resolved and the client commented on the services of her attorneys, Dan Swanson and Jesse Young:

You and your entire staff were very professional and sincere in your handling and solving of my issues. You were committed to customer satisfaction and it showed through your leadership. Your insightfulness, experience and performance, provided me with much support and confidence. Thank you!

The client, the former Director of Quality Assurance for a major international bank, was wrongfully retaliated against after he cooperated with an investigation by the Department of Justice concerning the bank's fraudulent mortgage loan activities. After he complained about his employer's illegal activities, the Department of Justice launched an investigation and sought to take his deposition. In retaliation for the client's complaints, the bank placed him on indefinite administrative leave and informed him that he could not return to his position as its Director of Quality Assurance. Sommers Schwartz stepped in to advise the bank of its illegal retaliatory actions and subsequently negotiated a favorable severance package on the client's behalf. The client later commented on the services of his attorneys, Dan Swanson and Jesse Young:

I believe that you and Jesse were very professional. More important, you were patient with respect to my lack of experience in this situation. You took time to explain why one path was better than another. You listened carefully and offered sound advice and counsel. I will always appreciate your professional and measured approach. You recommended a path that led to a speedy settlement. I did not have to spend a long period of time in litigation with no guarantee of success.

The client, a sixty-three year old female professional was placed on a performance improvement plan and was on the verge of being terminated. Her male manager (who was at least 20 years younger) placed her on this plan despite having failed to provide her with annual performance goals as required under the company's human resource policies and otherwise subjected her to different and more stringent performance standards than younger employees. After counseling the client in her dealings with employer, she was removed from the performance improvement plan and retained her employment. She subsequently commented on Mr. Swanson's services:

Thank you for your assistance which certainly contributed to the favorable outcome of my PIP. Although I hope the future does not require your services, I will certainly not hesitate to contact you.

The client, a former high level auto company executive, was separated after more than 20 years of service subsequent to her raising concerns about the company violating federal and state laws. She asserted that in retaliation for her having repeatedly raised these concerns, the company terminated her employment. After providing the company with a detailed draft federal court complaint asserting a violation of public policy claim and engaging in negotiations, the client received a severance package worth in excess of $800,000. She subsequently commented on Mr. Swanson's services:

I want to thank you for your excellent representation of me in my matter with [my employer]. As unpleasant as the matter was, I truly enjoyed working with you and felt very well represented throughout. If I should be aware of someone in need of employment law advice, I will be certain to recommend you.

Honors/Awards

  • Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Leaders in the Law" – 2014
  • Listed in Best Lawyers annually since 1995
  • Recognition for Pro Bono Service, U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan – 2014
  • DBusiness Top Lawyer – 2012, 2013 and 2015
  • Super Lawyers (Michigan) – 2006 to present; Top 100 - 2006, 2008, and 2010
  • AV Preeminent Lawyer – Peer Review Rating of 5.0 out of 5.0 (Martindale-Hubbell)

Published Works

  • Featured, "Legal Protection for LGBT Individuals: Has the Time Come?" Michigan Lawyers Weekly, September 26, 2013
  • Featured, "An Explosion of Whistleblower Claims," Michigan Lawyers Weekly, July 3, 2013
  • "Enforcing Noncompetition Agreement Claims," Employment Litigation in Michigan (Second Edition), The Institute of Continuing Education, 2013
  • "Pre-Suit Settlement Talks – Good Practice or a Sign of Weakness," 2006
  • "Twelve Critical Questions That Must Be Asked to Successfully Represent an Employee Against a Former Employer Seeking to Enforce a Non-Competition Agreement," 2001

Seminars/Lectures

Speaking Engagements

  • "Managing Your Role in the Litigation Process from Engagement to Trial," Michigan Association of CPAs, May 21, 2014
  • "Making Your Case: Selling Yourself to Clients & the Courts," (moderator and organizer), State Bar of Michigan Labor & Employment Law Section, October 2, 2013
  • "Not So Fast: Understanding and Recognizing Claims of Wrongful Discharge in Violation of Michigan Public Policy", The Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 38th Annual Labor & Employment Law Institute Seminar, April 5, 2013
  • "Enforcing Non-Compete Agreements in a Reduction in Force Environment," The Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 36th Annual Labor & Employment Law Institute, April 14, 2011
  • "Wilderness of Employment Law: The Employer's Compass," CPE Mega Conference, October 20, 2010
  • "Damages from A to Z in Employment Actions: The Plaintiff's Perspective," The Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 33rd Annual Labor & Employment Law Institute Seminar, April 10, 2008

Media Appearances

  • The Today Show
  • Good Morning America
  • CNN Headline News
  • Fox Business and News Networks