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Professionals

Education

J.D., cum laude, University of Houston Law Center, 1982

B.A., Texas Lutheran University, 1973

Admitted

Texas

United States District Court Southern, Western, Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas

United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit

United States Supreme Court

Languages

Joanne Vorpahl is a partner in the litigation practice group of Porter Hedges and was the practice group leader from 2009-2011. Her practice focuses on employment and commercial litigation, arbitration and mediation, including representation of parties to disputes involving allegations of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, theft of trade secrets, and violation of non-competition and other employment agreements, as well as wage and hour, unemployment, workers compensation and related issues.

Ms. Vorpahl has substantial experience representing employers before administrative agencies, including the U.S. Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Texas Commission on Human Rights, the Texas Workforce Commission and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In addition, Ms. Vorpahl engages in substantial client counseling and investigation of employment claims. She also represents majority and minority owners of businesses in disputes with co-owners and handles related commercial litigation.

Ms. Vorpahl has been selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers, Business Edition in the area of Employment and Labor since 2008 and Texas Super Lawyers in Employment Litigation since 2004. She was also recognized as one of "Houston's Top Lawyers for the People" in the area of Labor & Employment by H Texas Magazine in 2007 and 2009.

Representative Experience

  • Lead counsel defending KBR in a jury trial victory involving claims by plaintiff of rape, sexual harassment, and fraud.
  • Trial counsel for a Fortune 100 company in a suit involving multimillion-dollar contract and tort claims brought by an independent contractor of a company whose assets it acquired.
  • Lead counsel for a Fortune 500 company in multimillion-dollar litigation brought by former executives over contractual change-in-control provisions.
  • Lead counsel for both public and private companies in lawsuits alleging workers compensation retaliation.
  • Lead counsel in defending OSHA retaliation claims.
  • Lead counsel for companies of various sizes in lawsuits alleging race, age, national origin, disability, gender, and other unlawful discrimination.
  • Lead counsel in jury trial victory for federal employees prosecuting claims of disability discrimination and retaliation.
  • Lead counsel for numerous entities of various sizes before the Texas Workforce Commission, Texas Commission on Human Rights, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
  • Representation of numerous persons and entities in lawsuits and disputes involving trade secret and related issues.
  • Representation of numerous persons and entities in lawsuits and disputes over contractual covenants not to compete.
  • Trial counsel for telecommunications firm and individual employees defending charges of sexual harassment and discrimination.
  • Lead counsel for pharmaceutical sales company seeking recovery of over $1 million of embezzled funds.
  • Investigative counsel for numerous employers in formal discrimination, harassment and retaliation complaints.

Professional / Civic Affiliations

  • Martindale Hubbell AV Rated Attorney
  • State Bar of Texas, Member
  • Houston Bar Association, Labor and Employment Section, Director, Treasurer, Member
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • Bar Association of the 5th Federal Circuit, Member
  • Texas Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
  • College of the State Bar of Texas, Member
  • Chairman of Texas Lutheran University Corporation Board

News

Publications

Articles

Events

  • "Noncompete Agreements and Related Issues: Protecting Confidential Information (or Can Your Client Start a New Business Without Getting Sued)" (03/20/07)
  • "Document Retention and Destruction,” American Society of Women Accountants (11/01/05)
  • "Labor And Employment Issues Of Document Retention And Destruction: Best Policies And Practices,” Document Retention and Destruction in Texas, Lorman Education Seminar (08/26/05)
  • “Labor And Employment Issues Of Document Retention And Destruction: Best Policies And Practices,” Document Retention and Destruction in Texas, Lorman Education Seminar (08/24/04)
  • “How Do You Fire the Troublesome Employee,” and “Employment Policies Your Business Can’t Do Without,” Construction and Real Estate: Latest Industry Trends, Challenges and Tips, firm seminar (11/11/03)