Nyemaster Goode, P.C.

Thomas M. Cunningham

Tom Cunningham is a shareholder in the Labor and Employment Department at Nyemaster Goode. Tom represents management of private and public sector employers, ranging from small and medium-sized businesses to publicly traded Fortune 500 companies in Iowa and throughout the Midwest. Tom has litigated discrimination and civil rights cases, and wrongful termination, FMLA, ADA, wage/hour, OSHA, and trade secret/non-competition cases in jury and non-jury trials in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies.

Tom represents employers in the traditional labor law arena, having advised employers in union avoidance tactics and organizational campaign strategies. He has also defended employers confronted with unfair labor practice charges before the National Labor Relations Board. Tom has defended employers in audits conducted by the Department of Labor, EEOC, OFCCP, and Wage/Hour Division. He represents federal contractors and subcontractors with OFCCP/Executive Order 11246 and VEVRAA compliance issues.  Tom also advises employers in affirmative action plan development.

Tom has published numerous articles and addressed many legal and industry groups on labor and employment law topics, including wrongful termination of at-will employment; discrimination, harassment, and retaliation; occupational safety and health; wage/hour issues; affirmative action compliance; employment policies, discipline and documentation; enforcement of non-competition covenants; and employment contracts.


Martindale-Hubbell, AV® Preeminent

The Best Lawyers in America®, 2010-2020

Best Lawyers Award Badge

Chambers USA, Leading Lawyer for Business in Labor & Employment Law, 2004-2019


Best Lawyers Award Badge

Great Plains Super Lawyers, Labor & Employment, 2009-2019


Client Choice - USA & Canada, Labor & Employment in Iowa, 2014

Professional and Community Affiliations

American Bar Association
Labor Section, 1994-present
Litigation Section, 1986-present

Iowa State Bar Association
Federal Practice Committee, 2003-present; Chair 2004-2006

Missouri Bar Association, 1984-present

Polk County Bar Association

Defense Research Institute, 1986-present

National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel, 1987-present

Iowa Defense Counsel Association, 2002-present

C. Edwin Moore American Inn of Court (Master), 2003-present

Dowling Catholic High School
Member, Board of Education, 2003-2008
President, 2005-2006

West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, 1989-2003
President, 1996
Vice President, 1995
Board of Directors, 1993-1997

City of West Des Moines
Member, Board of Adjustment, 2013-present
Chair, Citizens’ Advisory Committee on Capital Improvements Projects, 1996-2006

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University of Iowa (B.A. with distinction, 1981; J.D. with distinction, 1984)
Note and Comment Editor, Iowa Law Review, 1983-1984
Student Member, Law Faculty Recruiting Committee, 1983-1984

Bar Admissions

Missouri, 1984

Iowa, 1989

United States District Courts for:
N.D. Iowa
S.D. Iowa
W.D. Missouri
D. Nebraska
C.D. Illinois
W.D. Michigan
D. Colorado

United States Courts of Appeals for the Seventh and Eighth Circuits

Supreme Court of the United States

Professional Experience

Shareholder, Pingel & Templer, P.C., West Des Moines, Iowa, 1989-2003

Associate, Watson, Ess, Marshall & Enggas, Kansas City, Missouri, 1984-1989

Significant Cases

Coleman v. Select Specialty Hospital - Des Moines, Inc., No. LACL134824 (Iowa Dist. Ct. for Polk Cnty. July 5, 2017). Judgment for employer following bench trial in action alleging violation of Iowa Drug Testing Act.

Arbitration between Gelita USA, Inc. and United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 222, FMCS Case No. 160718-56532-8 (March 31, 2017) (Befort, Arb.). Denial of grievance following arbitration of discharge of union member under CBA point-based attendance and disciplinary system.

Smock v. Muscatine Center for Social Action, No. LACV023354 (Iowa Dist. Ct. for Muscatine Cnty. February 10, 2017). Co-counsel for employer who obtained summary judgment on claims of retaliatory wrongful discharge in violation of public policy.

Lansdowne v. Lakes Regional Healthcare, No. LACV 025396 (Iowa Dist. Ct. for Dickinson Cnty. June 25, 2014).  Obtained summary judgment on behalf of employer on claims of wrongful termination, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and defamation.

REG Seneca, LLC v. Harden, 2013 WL 1449999 (S.D. Iowa 2013). Obtained preliminary injunction against former employee for anticipated breach of non-compete agreement and potential disclosure /use of trade secrets.

Cort v. Kum & Go, L.C., No. 6:11-CV-3448, 2013 WL 542813 (W.D. Mo. February 11, 2013). Summary judgment granted for defendant for alleged Fair Labor Standards Act violation, finding as a matter of law that convenience store managers are properly classified as executive employees exempt from overtime requirements.

Plumrose USA, Inc., Case No. 17 RD-1803, National Labor Relations Board (2010). Co-counsel for management in successful union decertification election.

Shannon v. Barilla America, Inc., 2008 WL 793511 (S.D. Iowa 2008), aff'd, 300 F. App'x. 437, 105 F.E.P. Cas. (BNA) 49 (8th Cir. 2008). Summary judgment granted for defendant in age discrimination case affirmed on appeal.

Gries v. Akal Security, Inc., 2007 WL 2710034 (N.D. Iowa 2007). Summary judgment on Plaintiff's claims of wrongful termination in violation of public policy, retaliation under the FLSA and defamation.

Amar v. Vaad Hakashrus of Crown Heights, Inc., No. LACV024225 (Iowa Dist. Ct. Allamakee County 2006). Summary judgment on Plaintiff’s claims for wrongful termination and tortious infliction of emotional distress. Decision for defense upon bench trial on Plaintiff’s Petition to Enforce Arbitration Award granting reinstatement.

Vitera v. Jeld-Wen, Inc., No. 4:02-cv-60101 (S.D.Iowa 2003). Partial summary judgment to employer on Plaintiff's claim of constructive retaliatory discharge under FMLA.

Engstrand v. Pioneer Hi-Bred Int'l, Inc., 946 F. Supp. 1390 (S.D.Iowa 1996), aff’d per curium without opinion, 112 F.3d 513 (8th Cir. 1997). Affirming summary judgment in favor of employer in gender and age discrimination action.

Westendorf v. Target Stores, No. 72725 (Iowa Dist. Ct. Black Hawk County 1994). Wrongful termination of at-will employee. Judgment for defendant-employer at close of Plaintiff’s evidence.

Diversified Fastening Sys. v. Rogge, 786 F. Supp. 1486 (N.D.Iowa 1991). Order granting preliminary injunction in favor of employer and against former corporate officer in case alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of fiduciary duty.

Boge v. Ringland-Johnson-Crowley Co., 976 F.2d 448 (8th Cir. 1992). Determining standards for legal sufficiency of charge of discrimination, affirming summary judgment in favor of employer.

Speeches and Publications

Keeping Your Payroll Practices from Becoming a Pay Day for the DOL, Nyemaster Labor & Employment Law Client Seminar (June 20, 2013, Des Moines, and June 27, 2013, Cedar Rapids) (Co-Author and Co-Presenter with S. H. Weitzenkamp).

Post-DOMA 101: What is the Impact for Employers?, Nyemaster Labor & Employment Law Blog (June 26, 2013) (Author).

What to Do Before and When the OSHA Inspector Arrives at Your Door, HR OneSource seminar, Des Moines, Iowa (April 25, 2013) (Presenter).

Eighth Circuit Validates Class Action Waivers in FLSA Cases, Nyemaster Labor & Employment Law Blog (January 9, 2013) (Author).

Nitro-Lift Detonates Oklahoma Court’s Injunction Against Arbitration Clauses in Employment Agreements, Nyemaster Labor & Employment Law Blog (November 30, 2012) (Author).

NLRB Invalidates Class Waiver Agreements, Nyemaster Labor & Employment Law Blog (January 19, 2012) (Author).

E-Discovery and Social Media, Information Systems Security Association, Des Moines, Iowa (August 22, 2011) (Presenter).

It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Retaliate Against: Third-Party Liability for Workplace Retaliation Is Here, Nyemaster Law Firm Labor & Employment Law Client Seminar (July 28, 2011, Des Moines, and August 11, 2011, Cedar Rapids) (Author and Presenter).

Teaching Pigs to Sing: Getting the Whole Story in Internal Investigations, Cyclone Chapter, Society of Human Resource Managers, Ames, Iowa (January 13, 2011) and HR OneSource seminar, Des Moines, Iowa (April 27, 2011) (Presenter).

Supreme Court Expands Retaliation Liability to Third Parties,Nyemaster Labor & Employment Law Blog (January 26, 2011) (Author).

Polk County Judge Puts the Brakes on Wholesale Production of Personnel Files – Even With a Protective Order, Nyemaster Labor & Employment Law Blog (August 17, 2010) (Author).

The Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act: One Year Later, Nyemaster Law Firm Labor & Employment Law Client Seminar (June 24, 2010) (Author and Presenter).

New Employment Claims under Federal and State Law, Iowa Defense Counsel Association Spring Seminar, Coralville, Iowa (April 9, 2010) (Presenter).

Preventing the Door from Hitting the Employer on the Employee’s Way Out: Ten Termination Questions and Their Answers, Nyemaster Law Firm Labor & Employment Law Client Seminar (June 25, 2009) (Author and Presenter).

The Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008, Nyemaster Law Firm Labor & Employment Law Client Seminar (January 28, 2009) (Author and Presenter)

Discipline and Documentation: Managing the Borderline Employee, Legally, Nyemaster Law Firm Labor & Employment Law Client Seminar (June 26, 2008) (Author and Presenter).

Workplace Harassment and Retaliation Claims, Recent Developments in Employment and Immigration Law, Sterling Education Services (March 5, 2008) (Presenter).

Employment Issues Involving Employee Use of Cell Phones, PDAs and Other Technology, Nyemaster Law Firm Labor & Employment Law Client Seminar (June 28, 2007) (Author and Presenter).

Retaliation and the Current Employee Who Sues, Nyemaster Law Firm Labor & Employment Law Client Seminar (June 29, 2006) (Author and Presenter).

FMLA Interplay with Other Laws, Family & Medical Leave Act in Iowa, Lorman Education Services (May 11, 2006) (Author and Presenter).

Once More, With Feeling! The New Federal Overtime Regulations One Year Later, Nyemaster Law Firm Labor & Employment Law Client Seminar (October 14, 2005) (Author and Presenter).

Privilege Log Strategies in Federal Litigation, For the Defense, Defense Research Institute (October 2004) (Author).

The New Rules on Fair Labor Standards Act White-Collar Exemptions, Nyemaster Law Firm Labor & Employment Law Client Seminar (June 24, 2004) (Author and Presenter).

Discipline and Termination, Human Resource Audits in Iowa, Lorman Education Services (2004) (Author and Presenter).

Examining Privilege Log Descriptions in Federal Litigation, Defense Update, Iowa Defense Counsel Association (September 2003) (Author).

Liability Traps for the Unwary Public Employer, Iowa Employment Law Letter (March 2002) (Author).

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