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May 2012 Archives

NFL Concussion Suit: Watch Out for the Quarterback Sneak

Most NFL concussion lawsuits have been consolidated under one federal judge who now oversees 70 suits, encompassing 2,000 former players. The Houston Chronicle reports that John Randle and many Texas natives are part of the group of players filing suit against the NFL. A hearing on June 8th will determine whether these new cases will be joined with the rest.

While the NFL administration states its concern for players, a lawyer representing the league would only comment that the NFL would be defending the lawsuit. One of the league’s defenses to the suits is a concept called preemption. Preemption means that one law overrules another.

Jack's Place Robbery: A Workers' Comp Claim Worthy of a Rap Star

While it seems like only stars in the hip hop world get paid if they survive a shooting, workers' comp insurance just might pay a regular Joe if he got shot at work.

After KHOU reported this week's robbery and shooting at Jack's Place Game Room in Harris County, you might wonder if workers' compensation insurance would cover your injuries and inability to work if you were shot on the job. According to the Houston Chronicle, the manager of Jack's Place was shot in the foot after one of the perpetrators opened fire on the office door.

'Old Farts,' Former Fire Chief Settle Age Discrimination Suits

Two similar age discrimination cases have settled in Texas in the last week. In each case, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission represented aggrieved parties who felt that their employment was either terminated or denied due to their age.

Age discrimination in employment is where an employer makes an employment decision, such as hiring, pay, promotions, or termination based on the employee's age. It also sometimes takes the form of forced retirement at a certain age. Laws such as the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibit such activities.

EEOC: Top Five Discrimination Charges Sued Over in Texas

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission just released a handy searchable tool for each state and territory in the Unites States. Texas, though only making up approximately 8.3% of the U.S. population, makes up 10% of the EEOC claims.

Texas' EEOC filings have steadily risen during the three years of available data. During fiscal year 2009, they had 8,748 claims, or 9.4% of claims in the U.S. In 2010, they had 9,310, or 9.3%. For 2011, the numbers jumped to 9,952, or 10% of the nation's claims.

The data sets also provide numbers and percentages of types of claims. Out of the EEOC provided categories, these are the five most popular claims for 2011. Because some litigants claim multiple forms of discrimination, there may be people who are in multiple categories.

On the Job Hunt Hustle? Check out the FindLaw Hiring Guide!

We talk a lot about employment discrimination on this blog. It’s pretty much the bread and butter of the employment attorney’s repertoire. Most of the lawsuits stem from the conduct of employers to people who are already employed. However, did you know job applicants also have protections?

How many of the thousands of job ads that you’ve reviewed refer to “seasoned” employees or “recent grads only.” How many ads for “salesman” have you seen?

Although these are all subtle phrases, likely not meant to be discriminatory, if an employer is limiting its job search based on restricted characteristics, such as age, gender, race, or disability, they may be violating your rights even if you are not an employee.

Reporter-Stripper-Professor Fired From Newspaper For Stripping

Sarah Tressler, 30, of Houston, is very, very talented and hard-working woman, reports ABC News. By day, she was a reporter for the Houston Chronicle’s society section. She also taught classes at Houston University. On the occasional night, she’d hit the stage in seven-inch heels and work as an exotic dancer.

“I was a stripper/reporter/professor and now I’m just a stripper/professor, and I don’t think that’s too bad,” Tressler said to ABC News.

Getting Unemployment Benefits in Houston

You just lost your job. For many, this can be the most stressful thing you’ll ever endure. Job searching, in this economy, can take months and sometimes even years. In the meantime, if you are eligible, you can seek unemployment benefits to tide you over.

Unemployment benefits are available to those who are out of work though no fault of their own. Examples of applicable situaitons are those who were laid off, had their hours cut, were fired without work related misconduct (such as violations of law or company policy), or quit for good reason, such as unsafe working conditions or not being paid.

Grandma Fired For Cancer; What Are Her Damages?

Her boss said that Crowne Plaza Hotel would stand by her, and hold her job. He even told her that his wife, who had survived breast cancer, would call her and let her know what to expect.

Janet Hustus' employer did exactly what employers are required to do, at least until they fired her, reports ABC News.

Her employer says she was let go, four days after returning to work, due to "unrelated issues." They had to cut back departments and hers was on the list. But Hustus thinks it was due to insurance costs, as she had multiple follow-up surgeries left.

Will Southwest's Expansion of Hobby Airport Cost Houston Jobs?

Southwest's proposed $100 million expansion of Hobby Airport seems destined to happen, whether or not it creates a net increase in Houston jobs. According to a report from the Houston Chronicle, citing the Houston City Attorney, the city is probably required by FAA regulations to bargain in good faith with Southwest over the expansion and due to prior dealings with the FAA, will probably, in the end, be required to provide "reasonable access and accommodation" to Southwest.

To Houstonians, good faith dealing amongst CEOs and city officials doesn't really matter. What does matter is whether it will be good or bad for the city's economy and job market. The answer to that question is so far unclear, reports the Houston Chronicle, as a competing airline and the Houston Airport System have each released conflicting studies on the impact of a potential Hobby Airport expansion.

Class Action Against BP Alleges Racial Discrimination in Oil Mess

The British Petroleum Oil Spill did much to ruin the livelihood of the fishing community in the Gulf of Mexico. Many of the area’s fisheries were driven out of business in the aftermath of what may have been the largest environmental disaster in history.

BP attempted to help tide over some of the fishermen by hiring them to assist in the cleanup efforts. However, it seems that they may have been choosing their charitable recipients based on race, reports The Louisiana Weekly.

Severe Obesity is an ADA-Protected Impairment

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana issued an important opinion that may have expanded the class of disabled Americans protected by ADA regulations, reports TheJobMouse.com.

The case, which has since settled, involved a severely obese woman working at a home for those fighting chemical dependencies. Lisa Harrison worked as a prevention/intervention specialist at Resources for Human Development's Family House in Louisiana from 1999 until late 2007. She was terminated by RHD, despite supposedly being able to fulfill all of the essential functions of her position.

Though Harrison passed away in 2009, the EEOC continued the suit on her estate's behalf.

Are Pre-Emp Background Checks Illegal? EEOC's New 'Guidelines'

Our wonderfully written sister blog, FindLaw's Philadelphia Employment Law News, recently discussed Pepsico's settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for $3.1 million over background checks.

Pepsi used background checks on all potential employees, which included arrest records and convictions. The checks were also done regardless of the importance of job and the relation of the employee's criminal past to their position with the company.

The process resulted in a disparate impact on minority candidates.