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Sexual Harassment / Workplace Harassment in Houston

There are many forms of illegal harassment in the workplace, but sexual harassment is one of the most widely discussed issues in employment law. Sexual harassment is considered a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Both state and federal laws protect workers from sexual harassment.

If you need advice on an employment law issue, including a harassment case, you should speak with a Houston employment lawyer. Houston employment lawyers can assess your legal issue and can even file a claim on your behalf. You can find a local lawyer by viewing FindLaw's directory of Houston employment lawyers.

Recently in Sexual Harassment / Workplace Harassment Category

Avoid Jail or Lawsuits for April Fools' Work Pranks

April Fools' Day is nearly upon us. You might be rubbing your hands together, scheming a grand workplace caper.

But as a columnist reminds us in her piece for ABC News, sometimes an office April Fools' prank can land you a pink slip (or worse) faster than you can say "Ferris Bueller."

Here are five ways to help make sure your April Fools' prank doesn't fall legally flat:

5 Ways to Prevent Valentine's Day Sexual Harassment Lawsuits

Valentine’s Day can become an issue for employers and employees alike.

As an employer, the last thing you want is an employment lawsuit stemming from an unfortunate incident on Valentine’s Day.

It’s wise to have a look at your workplace policies and send out an advisory to the employees a few days before Valentine’s Day. If you’re realizing now that you should have handled Valentine’s Day differently this year, here are a few things you should consider to prevent sexual harassment lawsuits next year:

Employers: Beware of Sexual Harassment Issues at Holiday Parties

Now that the holiday parties have started, it becomes more important than ever for employers to educate themselves on sexual harassment.

Since employers can be on the hook if an employee sexually harasses another, what should employers know about what is, and isn't, appropriate? Thomson Reuters' Accounting Web has some pointers on this. But first, let's look at the concept of sexual harassment.

Waffle House Sued for Alleged Sexting, Threat by Manager

Where do people get their ideas about what to do after doing something illegal? It's almost like someone's out there giving horrible advice to people such as, "If you commit a crime, the best thing to do is commit another one," or "Threats make witnesses go away."

Whatever the case may be, Donald Ballard, night manager of a Waffle House in Slidell, La., made matters worse when he allegedly texted a picture of his penis to employee Charmaine Anderson, and then threatened to stab her if she reported it, according to Courthouse News Service. Ballard also allegedly pressured other waitresses to have sex with him, and asked one particular waitress if he could pay to have sex with her, according to Anderson's sexual harassment lawsuit.

What chances does Anderson have with her case?

Lawsuit Claims Luby's Failed to Stop Sexual Harassment

Luby's Cafeteria is a great place to grab a bite after church on Sunday. It's just a nice wholesome restaurant where you can get some grub with the family. So why is Houston-based Luby's at the center of a sexual harassment lawsuit?

Jennifer Nelson claims a Luby's general manager created a hostile work environment and Luby's itself failed to prevent the sexual harassment, according to The Southeast Texas Record. Nelson claims the manager offered to buy her a car because she drove him crazy and told her he wanted to be the next guy she had intercourse with.

Nelson also claims that when she rejected the manager's advances, he retaliated by allegedly telling another associate manager that he planned to reduce her hours until she quit or was fired. Let's see if she has a good claim.

Buffalo Wild Wings Sexual Harassment; Employee Not 'Wild' Enough?

You know Buffalo Wild Wings -- or B-Dubs as it likes to be called -- it's known for its wings. You could also say it's like Hooters, but without the orange hot pants.

It seems like an employee at B-Dubs thought that he was working at Hooters when he started sexually harassing hospitality manager Michelle Kromer. Managment told her to "play along," according to the Southeast Texas Record. Kromer claims that when she made it clear that she was not going "play along" that she was quickly fired.

B-Dubs allegedly terminated her for the unauthorized use of a gift card. Let's see if Kromer has a case.

Yes Small Business Owners, the EEOC Can (and Will) Sue You

Small business owners are usually treated differently when it comes to running their businesses. For example, if you have less than three employees, you are not governed by some employment discrimination laws.

However, this doesn't mean that you're above the law. It also doesn't mean that the EEOC won't come after your business and you individually for violations of the labor laws.

That's what happened to Frank A. Mora, the owner and operator of the dry cleaning service "Oasis One Dry Cleaners" in McAllen.

UTMB Extramarital Affair Firing Not Gender Discrimination

In June, a Texas appeals court dismissed a gender discrimination suit filed against the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) brought by former nurse Nicole Petteway, according to KHOU. The case was brought after Petteway was fired after the ending of an extramarital affair between her and fellow nurse Leon McGrew began to affect the workplace, with McGrew filing a sexual harassment claim, according to Galveston's The Daily News.

According to the Daily News, there were multiple confrontations between workers and the two lovers that ended the relationship. The News continues, once the relationship was over the two agreed to speak only about business, but that did not last. The story ends with McGrew filing multiple complaints against Petteway, resulting in Petteway's termination for violations of the sexual harassment policy, according to the News.

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.

Three Lessons from the EEOC for Fast Food Franchise Owners

Getting to become a franchise owner is a long and difficult process, involving training, traveling, and tremendous amount of capital. Given the high stakes involved, it is therefore valuable to know what to do with respect to your employees when you finally do have your fast food franchise.

Thankfully, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is out there to provide guidance to fast food franchises. Some of the lessons you should take away can be found in three recent lawsuits that the EEOC brought against a McDonald’s, a Burger King, and a Wendy’s.