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July 2011 Archives

Workplace Violence: Naser Jason Abdo Arrested in Ft. Hood Area

The U.S. military is a tough employer.

It may be the toughest employer in the world, with the military "workplace" including field offices in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and many other conflict-laden countries, many of which are Muslim majority places. The extent of American involvement in these Muslim countries posed a conflict of interest for one Naser Jason Abdo, an American Muslim who, ABC News previously reported, had filed for conscientious objector status.

This week, the same man, Abdo was arrested in the Killeen, Texas, area after making a purchase at a place called Guns Galore, reports ABC News.

Plaintiff Alleges Repeated Rapes at K-Bob Steakhouse

A 53-year-old woman who came to the United States in 1981 and is a U.S. citizen, as well as a mother of two and married for twenty two years, had been working at a K-Bob's Steakhouse in Texas as a busser and salad bar attendant from 1999 to 2010.

During the last three years of her employment, reports Courthouse News Service on a complaint filed in the Western District of Texas, the plaintiff Maria Guzman was raped repeatedly, first by a supervisor named Reyes Padron then assaulted by a colleague Jose Avalos, as a condition of her employment.

Coworker Fight Ends in Stabbing and Their Employer Sued by Widow

A couple of years ago, a pair of team-drivers for Schneider National Carriers, Willie Valliere and John Church, had gotten into an argument, ending with Church fatally stabbing Valliere. That incident led Valliere's widow to sue Schneider for wrongful death.

The Courthouse News Service reports that a federal judge has ruled that the co-worker's widow can't hold her husband's employer liable for the crime.

The widow, as reported by Courthouse News, had argued that Schneider National Carriers had been "grossly negligent" in hiring John Church for the following reasons:

Older Engineer Says He Was Fired, Replaced by Younger Men

We often hear news about women getting discriminated at work because of their older age -- like this Houston woman allegedly let go for her gray hair.

But men also raise age discrimination claims, such as Tyler resident Kurt Floersheim, reports The Southeast Texas Record.

Mr. Floersheim, an engineer, was apparently let go in a reduction of force at a company called Motiva. Mr. Floersheim doesn't think this was appropriate. He is quick to point out that the reduction resulted in the three oldest engineers being laid off, ranging in age from 50 - 65.

Maritime Law: The Case of the Sea Captain Thrown Belowdeck

“All hands on deck!” also includes the Captain. And sometimes it is the Captain on the deck that gets injured.

In a case filed in a U.S. district court in the Southern District of Texas, a Louisiana sea captain claims he was injured when a rope being used to lower certain equipment broke and caused him to fall down the stairs, landing on equipment in the engine room belowdeck. Then when he tried to continue working he slipped and fell on the slippery deck, reports the Southeast Texas Record. The ship on which the alleged injury occurred was an M/V Dorado. Here is one flying the Latvian flag parked in Iceland.

Although this looks like a standard worker’s compensation issue, since it occurred on a ship, which raises issues of maritime time, the claim has been filed under the Jones Act.

US Steel Sued: Gender Discrimination Lawsuit for Equal Pay

There is a part in the film Godfather II when Hyman Roth says to Michael, "Michael, we're bigger than U.S. Steel."

That's because U.S. Steel, the world's first ever billion dollar corporation, was once the standard of size and excellence in American business. Founded by JP Morgan and Andrew Carnegie, at one point it was known simply as "The Corporation."

Over the years U.S. Steel has faced a government takeover by President Truman during the Korean War, not to mention millions of lawsuits. Now add one more to the list. This case involves a woman named Mabel Olivas, a human resources employee who claims that she was not paid as much as  similarly situated male employees, reports the Southeast Texas Record.

Hijab Discrimination: Samantha Elauf Wins Against Abercrombie

Some time ago a 17-year-old Muslim girl in Tulsa, Oklahoma, named Samantha Elauf, (who wears a "hijab" the a head-scarf that some Muslim women wear for religious reasons) sued the clothing company Abercrombie & Fitch. She claimed it failed to hire her because the hijab did not meet the company's "look policy," according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").

The EEOC took Samantha Elauf's case and won. The Elauf case gained national attention, including a story in Time Magazine, in 2009, because of the "hyper-sexualized" nature of Abercrombie advertising. Samantha Elauf's purported LinkedIn profile seems to show that she currently works at Forever 21 -- another clothing store akin to Abercrombie.

Some time ago, Jamie Leigh Jones sued her former employer Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), alleging that a gang-rape occurred at one of the KBR camps and that it had been caused by a hostile work environment. Recently in Houston, she was found by jurors not to have been raped, but to have engaged in consensual sex, reports the Southeast Texas Record.

Ms. Jones could not file a criminal complaint because the alleged crime occurred in Iraq. And for six years, she was also prevented from filing a civil suit because she had signed a mandatory arbitration contract.

The Jamie Leigh Jones rape case is significant for bringing to public light the issue of mandatory arbitration clauses in employment contracts. Such contracts prevent employees from suing their employers in open court and are widely used by American companies.

A southwest Houston strip club has been sued for alleged discrimination by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Michael's International, a topless bar nicknamed "Chicas Locas" and boasting "the sexiest dancers in all of Houston," allegedly discriminated against African-American dancers and waitresses, according to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The racial discrimination lawsuit was filed June 30 against Michael's International, which is located in the 6400 block of the Southwest Freeway. It states that in September of 2007 a group of African-American waitresses were told they could not work at the club.

Employee Sues Clarion Hotel For Unpaid Overtime Wages

Non-exempt workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are usually entitled to overtime pay, or a pay rate of one and one half times their regular rate of pay, when they work more than 40 hours in a week. Employees who are not paid overtime wages in accordance with FLSA can always file a claim with the Texas Workforce Commission or the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Larry Rush is now filing a lawsuit against his former employer Clarion Hotel Lacrosse in Texarkana, claiming that he should not have been exempt from overtime pay under FLSA during his three months of employment with the company, reports Southeast Texas Record. The suit was filed on June 15 in the Eastern District of Texas, Texarkana Division and names Roxann Davis Co., which does business as Clarion Hotel Lacrosse, as well as the individuals William E. Davis and Roxann K. Davis.