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January 2012 Archives

Health Insurance Deductibles Double

Health insurance deductibles doubled in just the last seven years, reports The New York Times.

In a study conducted by the Commonwealth Fund, it was found that between 2003 and 2010, total premiums for family coverage rose by 50 percent. Total health insurance premiums are those that are paid for by both employers and workers combined.

Workers found that they bear a great deal of the total health insurance premiums’ burden: their share increased by 63 percent over that period.

Paralegals Overtime Suit: Class Certification Granted

The paralegal overtime lawsuit against a local law firm called the Mostyn Firm previously received some play on FindLaw's Houston Employment Law News Blog.

At the time, the case was at the initial stages. It involved a paralegal named Sherri Davis, who alleged that she had not received overtime pay despite regularly working more than 40 hours per week.

Sherri Davis had not only been arguing on her behalf, however. She had also been trying to get a "class-action" status for the other paralegals at Mostyn.

Jimmy Fallon Sued by Former Employee Paul Tarascio

Jimmy Fallon, the late-night talk-show host, is facing an employment lawsuit from a disgrunted former employee, reports the Houston Chronicle.

The lawsuit, filed by Paul Tarascio, arises out of the allegations that Mr. Tarascio was fired because Jimmy Fallon prefered to work with a crew of females.

In other words, gender discrimination is being alleged. And the allegations in the complaint are a bit unusual. For example, allegedly Fallon’s director, David Diomedi said that “Jimmy just prefers to take direction from a woman.”

Denial of Medical Leave in Texas Prompts Lawsuit

A Collin County man, Edwin Lee Elmore Jr., has filed a lawsuit over denial of medical leave in Texas, reports the Southeast Texas Record.

The suit, filed in the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, alleges that Elmore was fired from his position when he had to take time off for back surgery.

The case of Edwin Lee Elmore Jr., with all due respect, while not a high-impact, high-profile one, is instructive to those workers who are confronted with denial of medical leave in Texas, because it allows them and the rest of us an opportunity to learn about the subject.

Whistleblower Michael Riddle Dyncorp International Case Goes On

A "whistleblower" is an employee who reports a violation of the law by his or her employer. The violation may be against the reporting employee, as with sexual harassment claims, or may be a general violation such as unlawful pollution practices against environmental law.

The federal government and many states have laws protecting whistleblowers from retaliation for filing a claim or reporting a violation. In addition, most states recognize a common-law claim against an employer who takes action against an employee after he or she has reported a violation of law.

Employment Based Health Insurance Declines

Chalk up another victim of the recession.

It turns out that the employment based health insurance decline is now a reality, reports Employer Brief. The information comes from a study done by the Employment Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

Between 1995 and 2007, the percentage of workers covered either in their own name or as a dependent was around 60 percent, with some occasional fluctuations. However, by April 2010, only 56 percent of the workers had employment based health insurance.

Company Sues Former Employee Over Non-Competition Agreement

A security company sued a former employee claiming that he stole multiple clients from the company, reports the Southeast Texas Record.

The aggrieved company, Patriot Security, believes that another company, S&S Investigations and Security, lured one of Patriot's employees, George Adams into revealing confidential information.

George Adams had signed an agreement with Patriot which said that he would keep all the company's information secret until at least five years after his resignation or termination. However, after he lost his job at Patriot Security last year, he allegedly shared the information with S&S.

Willful Violations: OSHA Fines Houston Company

A company alleged to have put the lives and limbs of its employees in danger was fined by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to the tune of $1 million, reports the Southeast Texas Record.

The offending company, Piping Technology and Products Inc. of Houston was found deficient on 13 willful and 17 serious violations of worker safety regulations in Houston.

OSHA’s allegations focused on the fact that the workers of the company were in danger of amputations and other serious injuries. These included dangers from machinery.

Top 5 Texas Employment Law Stories of 2011

Texas is a big state with a lot of workers in all areas and walks of life. In any working environment conflicts between workers and employers may arise. Below are our picks for the Top 5 Texas employment law stories of 2011.

5. Dr. Pepper Snapple Age Discrimination Verdict

Plano's Dr. Pepper Snapple Group was hit with a massive age discrimination verdict after six workers with more than twenty years of tenure alleged that they had been pushed out due to their ages. Dr. Pepper Snapple was ordered to pay $18.5 million.

How Much Do Truck Drivers Drive?

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has put out a new, revised set of requirements for commercial truck drivers, reports Employer Brief.

The commercial drivers' hours of services reduce by 12 hours the maximum a truck driver can work in a week. That means that instead of 82 hours maximum within a seven-day span, the new rule limits drivers to 70 hours.

Also, truck drivers can't drive after working eight hours unless they take a 30 minute break. They may take this break whenever they feel like it.