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November 2011 Archives

MLB Adds Protections Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Major League Baseball will be adding protections against sexual orientation discrimination in the next baseball collective bargaining agreement with its players, reports the Dallas Observer.

Other sports leagues, like the NFL, NHL, and Major League Soccer, already had similar protections for gay players in place. Now the MLB has joined them.

Baseball has already protected the rights of players based on their race, color, religion, or national origin. The new collective bargaining agreement will add the words “sexual orientation” to the list of protected categories, reports KCBS.

Fired For Being Pregnant in Texas?

A woman has filed a lawsuit alleging that she was fired for being pregnant, reports the Southeast Texas Record.

The suit was brought by Ashley Shelton against Synergy Care Inc. in Titus County District Court, from where it was removed to the Eastern District of Texas, Texarkarna Division.

Shelton used to work at Synergy's Mt. Pleasant customer facility when she learned she was pregnant. She was placed on medical leave when she was told by the doctors that she had to observe bed rest due to premature contractions. A few weeks later she was filed by email, alleges the complaint.

Lesbian Teacher Nikki Williams Alleges Discrimination at Life School

Nikki Williams is a lesbian teacher and basketball coach alleging discrimination against Life School Waxahachie for her termination after the administrators learned her sexual orientation, reports the Dallas Voice.

Life School is a group of charter schools in North Texas with Brent Wilson as the executive superintendent. A Texas charter school is a new type of school that began forming in after 1995, reports Texas Education Agency.

Retailer Protection During Houston Black Friday Sales

Trampling and stampeding are a few of the dangers associated with the Black Friday sales that occur the day after Thanksgiving, as the New York Times reported a while back.

To help retailers manage the extra flow of people during Houston’s Black Friday sales, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) put forward some guidelines that are aimed at helping store-owners and employers eliminate safety hazards. Below are just some of the OSHA guidelines for Black Friday sales as compiled by the researchers at FindLaw. They are organized in four different categories:

New Astros Owner Jim Crane Has History with EEOC

The NBA might be having labor problems, but it is business as usual in baseball, as the owners of MLB unanimously approved the sale of the Houston Astros from Drayton McLane to Jim Crane, who will lead the team from NL Central to AL West starting in the 2013 season, reports Google News. The deal went through after the sale price was cut from $680 million to $615 million. Jim Crane apparently got a good deal, as MLB will make up part of the difference.

Crane is the founder of a Houston-based logistics company and chairman and chief executive of Crane Capital, a private equity fund company. Previously, he has tried to buy the Cubs and the Texas Rangers.

Irving Based G2 Secure Staff Settles With EEOC

The Irving-based company G2 Secure Staff settled with the EEOC in the amount of $30,000 for allegations based on a disability discrimination lawsuit, reports Staffing Industry Analysts.

The EEOC sued the company in September alleging that it didn't accommodate a disabled person during the hiring process. In addition, it was alleged the company denied him employment because of the disability.

ICE's Voluntary Immigration Enforcement Program Ramps Up

The Obama Administration has asked ICE’s voluntary immigration enforcement program to step up employer audits, reports the Associated Press, a move that has a lot of implications for Houston area businesses and Texas employers in general.

The program, called ICE Mutual Agreement Between Government and Employers, goes by the handy acronym of IMAGE. Officials believe that it reduces the chances of an employer hiring illiegal immigrants or those that use fake identification documents.

Officer Corrie Long's Topless Pictures Lead to Two Lawsuits

After a Galena Park police officer, Corrie Long, filed a gender discrimination case with the EEOC against her former boss, the police chief, that boss filed a defamation suit against her, reports KPRC.

The chief, Robert Pruett, along with two other officers, are suing Corrie Long after she filed a claim with the EEOC in which she claimed that they made her resign from the force by threatening to release topless photos of her to the media, reports Courthouse News Service.

Company Pays for Not Paying Employees for Booting Up Computers

A Carrollton company called Hilton Reservations and Customer Care agreed to pay $715,507 in minimum and overtime back wages after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, reports Employer Brief.

Hilton Reservations and Customer Care owed the money to 2,645 current and former customer service employees. The former employees alleged that they weren’t paid for work they did before clocking into their shifts. This included: booting up computers, opening programs, and reading pertinent emails. And because this time was not included in their hours, the employees alleged they also didn’t get the right amount of overtime. The former employees alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Is the walk from your work's parking area to place of employment fraught with dangers, like criminals or grizzly bears? You may feel better if you could keep a licensed gun stored in the company parking lot. But until now, you couldn't do that in Texas, because employers generally didn't allow (or want) their employees to bring guns onto their parking lots.

Well, maybe now you can. Texas Senate Bill 321 bars employers from preventing employees with a concealed handgun license from transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition in a locked, privately owned motor-vehicle in an employer-provided parking area, reports Employer Brief (registration required).

Managers at Apple Going Through Union Awareness Training

It has come to light that managers at an Apple logistics center are going to be put through training related to unionizing which will be called “union awareness.”

Via an internal Apple document obtained by news group CNET, it has been revealed that managers at one of the off-site logistical centers will be undergoing the union awareness training. The Apple union awareness document says:

Religious Discrimination in the Workplace in Texas?

America is a country of many religions; is now, and always has been. Freedom of religion is an enshrined part of the Constitution. Further, the country has a long legacy of balancing religions in relation to one another and with secular activities like employment. Nevertheless there will be times that religious discrimination in the workplace in Texas takes place and it is important to know what you should be thinking about.

Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibit employers from discriminating against people because of their religion. This prohibition extends to hiring, firing, and other periods of employment.

Texas Sup. Ct. Refuses New Sexual Harassment Cause of Action

A waitress at a Waffle House in Texas sued for damages against her employer for improper supervision in a sexual harassment lawsuit, but ultimately lost her case when the Texas Supreme Court refused to create a new sexual harassment cause of action, reports Employer Brief.

At the current time, an individual's authority to file a sexual harassment claim comes from federal law and state law. The federal law that covers sexual harassment in the workplace is Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The state law that covers sexual harassment is Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code.

A female employe of Pioneer Hi-Bred of Amarillo, Texas, has alleged sexual harassment against the company, reports Employer Brief.

The woman, Kathy Ray Grimaldi, is suing under the authority of the federal Civil Rights Act. She alleges that she was ""made to feel as second class to the other employees specifically males and non-Hispanics." The complaint alleges that a supervisor told Kathy Ray Grimaldi that "she did not need a breast exam...he would do it for her" and "that she needed to have sex to relieve stress."

Discrimination Because of British Accent? Court Says No

An English-born black woman who alleged that her co-workers made fun of for her British accent filed suit against her employer and lost, reports the Leagle.

The case began when Susan Dixon was hired as a clerk by the Coman County District Attorney's Office. After working some time she tried to get a higher position; but she was denied. That position was given to a white woman. After she was unable to land a couple of other positions, Dixon began talking about the inter-office affairs with co-workers and even office visitors. She later told an office manager that she did not get the positions because of her race and accent.

Sex Discrimination Allegation Against Texas General Land Office

The now dismantled Texas Department of Rural Affairs, which was part of the state’s General Land Office, is being investigated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over allegations of sex discrimination, reports the Austin American Statesman.

The EEOC filed a lawsuit against the former Texas Department of Rural Affairs in federal court in Austin. The allegations involved alleged sex discrimination against a female employee, Monica Bosquez, who formerly worked in the disaster recovery division.

New Walmart Gender Discrimination Suit Filed in Texas

The Walmart gender discrimination class-action which the Supreme Court blocked earlier this year is back, reports the Dallas Observer.

It was back in June that the Supreme Court threw out the largest employment discrimination U.S. history when it said that the 1.5 million women suing Walmart nation-wide couldn't be treated as a "class." But since the Supreme Court didn't actually get to the question of whether gender discrimination had occurred, it left the door open to smaller-sized lawsuits.

How to Get a US Work Visa?

The recession notwithstanding, the U.S. still affords a number of economic and employment opportunities not available in other countries. In fact, there is an entire area of business-related immigration to America, reports the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.

There are at least three kind of work-related visas:

  • Temporary (nonimmigrant) Workers
  • Permanent (immigrant) Workers
  • Student and Exchange Visitors

If you are thinking about how to get a U.S. work visa in any of the above categories there are a number of steps to follow.

Age-Based Hostile Work Environment Claim Allowed To Go On

A 65-year-old used car salesman, Milan Dediol, who was forced out of his job for age-based abuse, may have done a lot of older Texas workers a favor, reports FindLaw's Fifth Circuit Blog.

Milan Dediol was a car salesman in Louisiana who allegedly received from his boss a string of verbal abuse related to his age. It got so bad that Dediol stopped coming in to work -- and he was eventually terminated. He filed a hostile work environment case under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), asking that the court should recognize such a claim.