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August 2011 Archives

In Class Action, Houston Paralegal Sues Mostyn Firm For Overtime

Sometimes trial lawyers get tried. That is the case with the Mostyn Law Firm of Houston, which is being sued by a disgruntled paralegal, reports the Southeast Texas Record.

The paralegal, named Sherri Davis, is alleging that she did not receive the overtime she was owed. She alleges that she regularly worked more than 40 hours per week and was not given time-and-a-half.

Not only is Sherri Davis bringing the lawsuit on her behalf, but also on behalf of a “class” of current and former paralegals at the Mostyn Law Firm who were allegedly not given the one-and-a-half overtime rate that they were allegedly owed.

Pot Growing Attorney Gets Reinstated

A Kountze attorney named Alan McLemore, who was arrested in 1995 for growing pot and served five years in prison, has been reinstated to practice law again, reports the Southeast Texas Record.

Alan McLemore’s disbarment occurred in 1997. After serving his time, McLemore asserts that he has “lived a life of exemplary conduct since his arrest.” Previously, McLemore argued that he was growing pot because he suffered from depression and the marijuana was for his personal medicinal use.

A story where employment and pot overlap is a good time to delve into workplace drug testing laws.

Jamie Leigh Jones, the woman who lost the gang-rape case against her employer, a former subsidiary of Halliburton's, is now being asked to pay for all the legal fees stemming from her lawsuit, reports Legal Newsline.

Jamie Leigh Jones's case was decided in July, when the federal jury ruled that she was not raped in Iraq while employed by Kellogg, Brown and Root, reported FindLaw's Houston Employment Law Blog.

Halliburton CEO Dave Lesar Makes Employee Drink Fracking Fluid?

Some bosses ask you to stay late for work on Friday evening. Others make-up nicknames you don't like. Then there is Halliburton CEO, Dave Lesar, who demonstrates fracking fluid by having his employee drink it, reports the Houston Chronicle.

Halliburton, the world's second largest oilfield services company, which some people simply call Hal, is headquartered in Houston.

The strange incident happened during a keynote lunch speech in Colorado, where Dave Lesar was addressing the many concerns regarding "hydraulic fracturing" -- which is a way of extracting natural gas by using water and chemicals. The Halliburton CEO then raised a container of Halliburton's new fracking fluid and made another executive drink it.

Barnes Equipment Survives Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

A Beaumont based agricultural and industrial equipment company was taken to court by a black employee that accused the company of racial discrimination. However, a judge ruled in favor of the company and the white supervisors, reports the Southeast Texas Record.

The suit arose when R.J. Freeman, alleged that he had twice been assaulted by his white co-workers over the course of a year. His complaint against Barnes Equipment, filed in Jefferson County District Court, blamed the supervisors, James and Stacy Barnes, for not taking any action against the men that assaulted him.

David Carradine's Widow Reaches Wrongful Death Settlement

As a younger man playing grounded and orthodox characters he was among the actors that helped bring the Southwest and Texas to Hollywood and TV.

As an elderly man he allegedly died from "autoerotic asphyxiation" -- a case of a solitary sex act gone wrong.

Now, David Carradine's widow, Anne Carradine, has reached a settlement with the film production company on whose set the accident happened, reports the Daily Mail.

Galveston Housing Authority Sued for Racial Discrimination

A Houston-based administrator with the Galveston Housing Authority has alleged she was terminated from her position due to race-based decision-making, reports the Southeast Texas Record.

A lawsuit filed by Christina J. Allen-Crowder, an African-American, alleges that she made an internal complaint about discrimination to the then-directo Harish Krishnarao, only to be fired.

Help for Domestic Help: Maids Have Rights, Too

With the film adaptation of The Help, Katheryn Stockett's 2009 novel about domestic servants out in theaters, not to mention the assault on a New York hotel maid by former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, there is a great deal of light being shed on various social and legal issues related to those who work as domestic help and maids, reports the Houston Chronicle.

The issue is of particular importance given the way it affects the weakest members of society. According to the Chronicle, in a survey of more than 500 domestic workers, 99 percent were revealed to be foreign-born, 76 percent were non-U.S. citizens, and 93 percent were female.

Employee Heat Wave Lawsuit: Heat Caused Texas Bricklayer Death

Whether its the laborers that that raised the Great Wall of China, or the ones that built the Hoover Dam, this is perhaps history's longest lasting kind of employer-employee problem: working in the heat.

Recently the estate of a deceased brick-worker in Texas sued his former employer for forcing him to work too long in heat that led to his death, reports the Southeastern Texas Record.

According to the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Maria Molina Oviedo, the representative of the estate of Francisco Javier Ovedo-Ramirez, against Boral Industries Inc., and Boral Bricks Inc., Francisco went into a coma from heat-stroke and died two weeks later.

Houston Man Gets the Ex-Con Treatment, Faces Unemployment

The charges were eventually dropped; but being accused of rape destroyed his life.

The Houston Chronicle recently reported on Jose Jose Torres, who was accused by the Harris County prosecutor of an aggravated sexual assault against a fourteen-year-old girl after she picked him out in a line up. However, the charges against him were dropped when DNA tests came back negative.

While it appears to be good news on the surface, a deeper look by The Chronicle reveals that Jose Jose Torres suffered severely as a result of the arrest, which had been spurred by the girl's family accusing Torres of entering their house. As a result of the prosecution, Torres lost not one, but two jobs, and was evicted from his apartment. And even though he didn't have a prior criminal record, Torres almost ended up in jail.

In short, his life was destroyed.

17-Year-Old Alleges Sexual Harassment at KFC

She claims she was treated like a piece of meat.

A 17-year-old girl from Collin County has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), reports the Southeast Texas Record.

Blanca Rodriguez was only seventeen when she started working at the KFC. She alleges that she was immediately subjected to verbal and sexual harassment by a co-worker. She tried to speak to a restaurant manager with her father's help, but no appropriate action was taken.

Brother and Sister Sue Holiday Inn Over Sexual Harassment

The Port Arthur Holiday Inn Park Central isn't in the news because its the "hotel motel holiday inn" from "Rapper's Delight" by Sugarhill Gang, but because a pair of terminated employees have filed a suit alleging that they were terminated by the hotel after complaining about sexual harassment, reports the Southeast Texas Record.

The suit involves a brother and sister that worked at the Holiday Inn Park Central, named Marie Brown and Wesley Devereaux. Brown started working for the Holiday Inn Park Central as a cook in 2009, only to be immediately subjected to sexual harassment by another cook. Although the hotel fired the sexual harasser, Brown alleges that she was also let go as a result of the complaint.

Unemployed? The Fair Employment Act of 2011 Can Help You

There has always been "employment discrimination." But soon we, might hear a lot more about "unemployment discrimination."

For some time, worker advocates have been telling the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that potential employers are screening out job applicants that are currently unemployed and giving hiring preference to those who already are employed, reported Bloomberg News.

Not only is this a form of discrimination on its own -- preferring one kind of applicant over another -- but this kind of discrimination may disproportionately affect African-Americans and Latinos, two groups who make up a large part of the Houston labor force.