The Houston Employment Law Blog - Find Houston Employment Lawyers

March 2010 Archives

Female Employees File Lawsuit Against Bank of America

| No TrackBacks

Yesterday, three female Financial Adviser filed a national class action lawsuit against Bank of America and Merrill Lynch alleging sex discrimination. The New York Times reports that the lawsuit, which was filed in New York, claims that the companies have violated several federal and New York state laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New York State Human Rights Law.

Employment lawyer Kelly M. Dermody says that "While Merrill Lynch and Bank of America have favored male Financial Advisers to receive lucrative client opportunities, they have penalized female Financial Advisers financially for not being chosen for those advantages they created."

Unemployment: How A Part-Time Job Can Lead to Less Money

| No TrackBacks

All over the United States, temp jobs seem to be on the rise. The Christian Science Monitor reports that since September 2009, jobs at temp services have risen by approximately 284,000. This is because our current economy is unpredictable; making businesses reluctant to hire full time employees until they're sure that the economic recovery is permanent.

Yet many people do not realize that the increase in temporary and part-time work is affecting the unemployment benefits of many Texans. People who have been out of work for an extended period of time are now picking up work as temps or part-timers, but aren't necessarily aware that state agencies will recalculate their unemployment benefits after a year. So if that new job pays less than the old job, there will be a decrease in the amount of unemployment compensation. This is because the amount of unemployment compensation that a person receives depends on the amount of money that a person earned while working. It leaves the question: Is any work really better than no work?

Texas Truck Driver Alleges Violations of FLSA

| No TrackBacks

Federal laws require that most employees who work in excess of 40 hours be paid at least one and one-half times their regular rate of pay through the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Any employee who is entitled to overtime pay, but is not being paid the proper wages has the right to sue an employer to recover the unpaid overtime compensation.

This is exactly what a Texas truck driver is now doing. The Southeast Texas Record reports that the truck driver, Clinton Roberts, filed suit against International Trucking Solutions Inc. on March 22 in the Sherman division of the Eastern District of Texas.

Jehovah's Witness Claims Religious Discrimination

| No TrackBacks

Tyler Templeton, a product technician at the Bridgeport branch of Aaron's Rents, claimed that he was fired for refusing to wear a red shirt on the company's "Red Shirt Friday." The Fort Worth Star Telegram reports that the red shirt dress code was supposed to show support for the U.S. military.

Why did Mr. Templeton refuse to wear a red shirt? The man claimed that doing so was against his religion as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. According to the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Jehovah's Witnesses beliefs include not expressing opinions about government matters, including military affairs. The company, which is owned by Alliance Rental Centers, claimed that Mr. Templeton had worn the red shirt on other occasions.

The Rules of Drug Testing in the Workplace

| 1 TrackBack
It Texas, it's not exactly uncommon for an employer to require pre-employment drug testing or have a drug testing policy. The Texas Workforce Commission states that there is almost no limitations on private employers when it comes to drug testing, under both Texas and federal laws. This, however, is different from government employers. There have been court decisions that show certain drug testing practices can violate employee rights and be considered unreasonable search and seizures.

CVS Manager Claims She Was Terminated Because of Race

| No TrackBacks
A former African American employee at a Nederland CVS pharmacy claims that she was wrongfully terminated from her manager position because of her race. If this is the case, then it is a clear violation of the Civil Rights Act. Now former employee Yvonnie Williams is fighting her rights by filing a lawsuit against CVS in the Beaumont Division of the Eastern District of Texas, according to the Southeast Texas Record.

Latino Employee Alleges Racial Discrimination on the Job

| No TrackBacks

Texans don't always need a Houston employment lawyer to file a claim against their employer. Argemiro Garcia, a Latino employee of Sam Houston Electric Cooperative has a lawsuit against his employer pro se. Pro se is when an individual represents himself. His suit that was filed in the Lufkin Division of the Eastern District of Texas alleges that he was denied a promotion at the company because of his race, according to the Southeast Texas Record.

Mr. Garcia claims that he applied for an open inspector position with Sam Houston Electric Cooperative in June 2008, but was not chosen. The suit states that the company hired a less qualified Caucasian male for the position.

Employee at KFC Claims Sexual Harassment on the Job

| No TrackBacks

A young woman from Galveston has filed a lawsuit against A&S Texas City Food Corporation, which does business as KFC; claiming that she was sexually harassed on a frequent basis by her assistant manager while working at the fast food restaurant.

The suit states that the plaintiff was hired to work at the Texas City KFC in March 2008, when she was just 16 years old. After just one week of employment, the Southeast Texas Record reports that the unnamed plaintiff experienced brutal groping. The alleged attacks and assaults escalated to the point in which the plaintiff claims that she was a victim of violent assault, battery, and an attempted rape on the A&S Texas City Food premises.

The plaintiff now has Houston employment lawyer Todd Slobin representing her with this case. The lawsuit was filed on March 15 in Galveston County District Court, where District Court Judge Lonnie Cox will be presiding over the case.

Harris County Hospital Workers Win Their Jobs Back

| No TrackBacks

Last November, 16 employees were fired from the Harris County Hospital District after being accused of violating patient privacy laws. However, the Houston Chronicle reports that five of those terminated employees were rehired last month and have been reinstated to their old positions.

The reinstatement of the hospital employees comes after a heated battle from Houston employment lawyers working with their union. The Harris County hospital employees did not realize that they were crossing the privacy line when they allegedly looked over a particular patient's medical records. The patient was Dr. Stephanie Wuest, a first-year Baylor College of Medicine resident assigned to Ben Taub General Hospital. Dr. Wuest was shot in a grocery store parking lot and became a patient at the hospital.

75-Year-Old Woman Wins Age Discrimination Settlement

| No TrackBacks

It's not often for employers to see 75-year-old men and women looking for work, but when senior citizens do apply for a job it's important that they are treated fairly and not discriminated against based on their age. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against both employees and job applicants who are 40 years of age and older based on their age. People over the age of 40 who do experience age discrimination in the workplace shouldn't hesitate to call a Houston employment lawyer.

The Arizona Daily Sun reports that a 75-year-old woman from Sedona, Arizona experienced alleged age discrimination at her job and got a $35,000 settlement out of it. Gloria N. Rose claimed that Red Rock Western Jeep Tours, Inc. fired her after only two days of work because of her age.

A former African-American employee of Mike Smith Autoplex Inc. claims that he was forced to resign from his postiion as a salesman because of his race. The Southeast Texas Record reports that the former salesman is sueing the company; alleging violations of the Civil Rights Act.

Greg E. Mitchell of Beaumont now has Houston employment lawyer Katrina S. Patrick representing him as a plaintiff. The man was hired as a salesman at Mike Smith Autoplex in May 2005 and was promoted to assistant sales manager in 2006. The plaintiff claims that when he applied for a promotion to the sales manager position in 2007, he was denied the position due to his race.

What Posters Must Be Displayed in the Workplace

| No TrackBacks

When you're working for a company, you might notice that there are posters on the wall that display particular legal rights of an employee. The Texas Workforce Commission states that there are actually various laws that require employers to display these types of posters in the workplace. The posters are available free of charge from various government agencies.

Posters that explain the Texas Unemployment Compensation Act and the Texas Payday Law are available through the Texas Workforce Commission. The U.S. Department of Labor - Wage and Hour Division (DOL) requires posters that explain The Fair Labor Standards Act, Employee Polygraph Protection Act, Family Medical Leave Act, and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.

Occupational Health and Safety News reports that a nationwide operator of charter schools recently agreed to pay $570,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit that had been filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The suit against the charter school operator Imagine Schools Inc. has once again proven that pregnant women have equal rights in the workplace under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

The suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, alleged that Imagine Schools discriminated against two pregnant employees when the school chose not to retain them. Charity Brooks, an administrative assistant and LuShonda Smith, an office manager, both of whom were pregnant were let go. Imagine Schools closed its charter middle school in Kansas City, Mo and opened a private middle and high school at the same location, but failed to rehire Ms. Smith and Ms. Brooks.

Jokes about color are no laughing matter in the workplace. Yet an employee at Suddenlink Communications seems to have learned this the hard way. John Billy Dever Jr. was fired from his position at Suddenlink Communications after he allegedly made an "off-color" joke to a group of men who he believed shared his same sense of humor, according to The Southeast Texas Record. But after a co-worker allegedly complained about the joke, he was terminated.

Mr. Dever is hoping to get back at the company with a lawsuit. Mr. Dever and his Texas employment lawyer, Dan Chern, filed a lawsuit against Suddenlink Communications on March 10 in the Sherman division of the Eastern District of Texas, alleging age discrimination. Mr. Dever, who is over the age of 40, claims that he was not the only one to make off-color jokes and that the jokes were made after work and out of the office.

Smelly Lawsuit Raises Questions For Employment Lawyers

| No TrackBacks

A woman who worked for the city of Detroit filed a lawsuit against the city because a co-worker wore perfume and used room deodorizer that made it difficult for the woman to breathe while she was on the job. This could be a new issue for a Texas employment lawyer to tackle in the Lone Star state. As CBS News puts it, the "chemically sensitive" products caused such an extreme reaction, that city employee Susan McBride complained that she suffered migraines, nausea, and coughing.

The smells were essentially affecting Ms. McBride's ability to do her work, and her boss didn't take appropriate action when the employee made complaints about them. Employment lawyer Joelle Sharman told CBS that every person has the right to breathe in the workplace.

How to Prepare for an Unemployment Hearing

| No TrackBacks

When a worker becomes unemployed, FindLaw states that the former employee can apply to temporarily receive benefits from a state unemployment compensation fund until they find another form of work. However, former employees are only entitled to the unemployment benefits if they have been put out of work through no fault of their own.

After a claim is filed, the state agency will make the initial determination if the former employee is eligible to receive unemployment benefits. If the employer believes that the former employee is not eligible or if the employer has any sort of dispute with the claim, then the employer can contest the claim in court.

Brazoria County Employees Allege Sexual Harassment

| No TrackBacks

Three juvenile probation employees of Brazoria County claim that they were sexually harassed on the job by former county court at law judge James Blackstock. The Facts reports that former employee Mikki Kalina and current county employees Estella Strawn and Rebecca Sirmans filed a lawsuit last week against the county's juvenile probation board and the former county court at law judge.

The lawsuit alleges that Judge Blackstock had sexually harassed the employees by making inappropriate sexual comments, sharing sexually explicit e-mail, and grabbing the women in inappropriate places. Judge Blackstock resigned from his position in 2008, after he entered a no contest plea to multiple counts of unrelated criminal charges that included counts of assault by offensive and provocative physical contact.

Two Jewish brothers recently settled a religious-based harassment suit with Administaff Inc., where the Baltimore Sun reports that the two men are now walking away with $115,000. The case sheds light on how various forms of religious harassment violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Administaff is a nationwide company that is based in Kingwood, Texas and provides full-service human resources to small and medium-size businesses. The company has offices in several Texas cities, including Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio.

Medical Marijuana Use Leads to Wrongful Termination Case

| No TrackBacks

A Montana man who is HIV-positive recently filed a wrongful termination claim against his former employer after he was fired for using medical marijuana.

The Great Falls Tribune reports that Mike Babbitt is now seeking $500,000 in damages from Loaf-n-Jug, as the man claims that he was discriminated against, lost wages and suffered other monetary damages. Mr. Babbitt had passed a pre-employment drug test at Loaf-n-Jug, but informed management before he was hired that he is qualified to receive medical marijuana. He says that he informed management when he received his medical marijuana card and he was assured that it was no problem.

Waitresses Sue Hooters For Unfair Practices

| No TrackBacks

Some Houston employment lawyers would say that they're not that surprised by the alleged mistreatment of employees at the Hooters Restaurant Chain, as the restaurant is controversially based on female sex appeal. In the Houston area, there are 10 Hooters restaurants that employ hundreds of workers.

Yet KCRA reports that some California waitresses at Hooters have filed a claim against the company, saying that the restaurant has poor employment practices and that employees are mistreated by management.

The Consequences of Lying During the Hiring Process

| No TrackBacks

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and unfortunately this means that some people will do anything they can to get a decent job these days. FindLaw states that many job applicants will try to increase their chances of getting a job by embellishing their resumes or lying about their experience and credentials. However, it's important to know that this is a very risky move and can ultimately lead to negative consequences.

The most obvious reason not to lie in the job application process is because you could be fired. If you lied about something relevant to to the job, such as receiving a college degree or having particular skills, then an employer has the right to fire you for it. A termination like this can become the black sheep when you're job hunting, as it can leave a negative mark on your record.

Former Gregg County Employee Going to Mediation Hearing

| No TrackBacks

A former employee that once worked for Gregg County is now suing the county for wrongful termination. The Longview News Journal reports that the employee, Willie R. Bush, worked as a dump truck operator for Precinct 4 from March 2005 to April 2008, but was fired for violating rules and policies.

But Mr. Bush believes that rule violation was not the real reason for his termination. Mr. Bush and his Texas employment lawyer are arguing that he was fired because he had pointed out inconsistencies in employee pay and treatment. He tried to appeal his termination to the Gregg County Commissioners Court in August 2008, but the county upheld his termination with a 3-1 vote. Mr. Bush's lawsuit marks the first wrongful termination case brought against the county since County Judge Bill Stoudt took office in 2003.

The Rules of Working Overtime

| No TrackBacks

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes standards for a minimum wage and overtime pay in both the private and public sectors. The U.S Department of Labor reports that these labor standards affect more than 130 million workers across the nation, yet many people are still unaware of their rights when it comes to overtime pay.

While some employees are exempt from overtime requirements, the federal law requires that most employees to be paid at least one and one-half times the employee's regular rate of pay when paying for overtime. Overtime pay is mandatory when an employee works more than 40 hours in a given workweek. Contrary to popular belief, the law does not require employers to pay employees time and one-half pay on Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays.

Pregnancy Discrimination Suits on the Rise

| No TrackBacks

Long Island Business News reports that pregnancy discrimination complaints with the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have risen in recent year. Texas employment lawyers predict that the economic recession will prompt even more pregnancy discrimination cases.

EEOC states that pregnancy discrimination complaints went from 3,997 in 1997 to 6,196 for the fiscal year of 2009. This dramatic 56 percent increase can be due to many factors, but might be because women today have a greater awareness of their rights, compared to female workers in the past.

Texas Employment Lawyers Look at Minimum Wage Statistics

| No TrackBacks

Everything is bigger in Texas, including the number of low-wage workers. The Fort Worth Telegram reports that the lone star state has the highest number of workers earning minimum wage or less, with 474,000 people working for that magic number of $7.25. This is more than double Florida's minimum wage sector of 215,000 workers.

Texas minimum wage workers actually account for 13.3 percent of the total U.S minimum wage sector. Most of these workers are in the leisure and hospitality sector, primarily working in food and beverage service. But why is Texas home to so many low wage workers? Both Texas employment lawyers and economists have come up with several reasons for this trend.

Former CVS Employee Alleges Disability Discrimination

| No TrackBacks

A former CVS pharmacist alleges that he experienced discrimination in the workplace based on his disability and that he was wrongfully terminated from his position after filing a complaint about the discrimination.The Southeast Texas Record reports that the former employee, Tony Mumfrey, filed a lawsuit against against CVS Pharmacy Inc. in October 2009 in the 58th Judicial District Court of Jefferson County. However, the defendant has since moved the case to the federal court in the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division.

Mr. Mumfrey was told that he was terminated from his position because he had mishandled a prescription. Yet, he alleges that the store manager and supervisors made defamatory statements against him and that the company denied him reasonable accommodations for his disability. He believes that his disability was a key element in his firing.

Jobless Claims Declining Nationwide

| No TrackBacks

A Texas employment lawyer might argue that we're about to come out of the current economic recession and that we can finally see the light at the end up the tunnel. CBS News reports that last week there was a decrease in newly laid-off workers who were requesting unemployment benefits. This marks the second straight week that the U.S Labor Department has seen a decline in the number of jobless claims. But with just a two week dip, it could still be too early to tell if the unemployment rate is actually improving.

Last week, initial unemployment claims fell to 462,000, which was down from 468,000 claims the week before. But the state of Texas doesn't seem to fare so well when it comes to the number of people who are applying for unemployment benefits. Texas now stands as one of five U.S states that have seen large increases in the number of unemployment claims , according to Reliable Plant Magazine.

Sears Pays Largest ADA Settlement in EEOC History

| No TrackBacks

Workers’ compensation was at the center of debate with a lawsuit against Sears, Roebuck & Co, according to Occupational Health and Safety News. The lawsuit was filed by employment lawyers with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and alleged that Sears maintained an inflexible worker’s compensation leave exhaustion policy; which terminated employees when coming back from leave. This violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) because the employees were not provided with reasonable accommodations for their disabilities.

Jury Awards Dockworker $257,500 in Age Discrimination Suit

| No TrackBacks

As stated in an earlier blog post, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on the basis of age  when an employee is over the age of 40. It can sometimes be difficult for Houston employment lawyers to prove age discrimination in a work environment, but a recent case shows that such discrimination suits are filed and that there can be a favorable outcome for the employees. reports that Donald Wayne Smith was employed as a dockworker with Central Freight Lines in Houston for 45 years before he was laid off from his position in 2006, when he was 62 years old. During his last months of employment, the company changed its layoff guidelines so that part-time and supervisory employees were exempted from layoffs. Mr. Smith claimed in a lawsuit that Central Freight Lines kept younger workers that had worse work records than he had and that the new guidelines put in place were specifically designed to ensure his layoff.

Military Family Act Would Change FMLA Standards

| No TrackBacks

A controversial piece of legislation could expand the Family Medical Leave Act to provide up to two weeks of leave -- unpaid if an employer chooses -- to people not covered by the military leave provisions of the existing FMLA.

The Navy Times reports that House Bill 3247, also known as The Military Family Leave Act, is now pending before two congressional committees. The current law has several provisions that can deny employees of family medical leave. For example, an employee is not covered under FMLA if he or she has worked for less than one year with the current employer. The employee must work at least 1,250 in a year and must work for a company or firm that employs at least 50 people.

Employee at Pain Relief Center Alleges Sexual Harassment

| No TrackBacks

A former receptionist at the Pain Relief Center in Bay City, Texas claims that she was wrongfully terminated from her position after she refused aggressive advances from physician Dr. Ajay Aggarwal. Outpatient Surgery Magazine reports that the former receptionist, Norma De La Rosa, filed a lawsuit against her employer last year in the U.S. District Court for Southern Texas.

Her Houston employment lawyer, Adrian V. Villacorta, says that Ms. De La Rosa suffered quid pro quo sexual harassment and retaliation, resulting in severe emotional distress, medical expenses, and lost earning capacity. She is seeking compensation for lost wages, suffering, legal costs and punitive damages.

Nurse Loses Overtime Lawsuit Against Parkland Health

| No TrackBacks

Angela Valcho worked with Parkland Health & Hospital System as a specialized nurse for seven years in the neonatal intensive care unit. The Dallas Business Journal reports that the woman would often work three to four 12-hour shifts per week, with 30-minute meal breaks automatically deducted from her pay by a computer system.

Legal trouble arised when Ms. Valcho claimed that she didn't get to take her full meal breaks on half or more of her work shifts because supervisors frequently called her to duty. She hired an employment lawyer and filed a lawsuit back in November 2007. In the suit, she alleged that she was required to work "off the clock" during what should have been meal break time under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Wal-Mart Employee Sues After Being Fired For Poor Hygiene

| No TrackBacks

A mother recently filed a lawsuit against Wal-Mart in in Jefferson County District Court after her son was fired from his position at the retail giant. The Southeast Texas Record reports that Texas employment lawyer Tommy Yeates will be representing the plaintiff, seeking economic and punitive damages for his client.

Wal Mart representatives said that they fired Deborah Gernentz's son, Jeremy Gernetz, because the company had received complaints regarding Mr. Gernetz's hygiene and body odor. But the mother claims that the foul smelling B.O was just an excuse and that her son's termination was actually because he had tried to file a workers' compensation claim

EEOC Says More Men are Filing Workplace Harassment Claims

| No TrackBacks

The Houston Chronicle reports that women in the United States file the overwhelming majority of sexual harassment claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. However, sexual harassment claims dealing with men are on the rise. According to EEOC, the percentage of sexual harassment claims filed by men doubled from 8 percent to 16 percent of all claims, from 1990 to 2009.

"It's certainly possible that there's more sexual harassment of men going on, but it could just be that more men are coming forward and complaining about it," said employment lawyer Ernest Haffner, who works with EEOC's Office of Legal Counsel.

State Employee Alleges FMLA and ADA Violations

| No TrackBacks

A former Texas state trooper is alleging violations of the Family Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the Southeast Texas Record. Edwin K. Lang filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Public Safety on March 1, in the Eastern District of Texas.

The lawsuit stems from an incident in which Mr. Lang was hospitalized because of a heart attack. After treatment, Mr. Lang returned to work with the Texas Department of Public Safety, but requested to only do administrative work and not respond to calls on the road. This was so Mr. Lang could heal properly.

While Wal-Mart still admits to no wrongdoings, the company will pay nearly $12 million in damages and back pay to to a "yet-to-be determined number of claimants," according to Associated Press. The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will determine which claimants receive back pay and which will get compensatory damages.

The EEOC filed this class-action lawsuit almost nine years ago. The suit alleged that Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart made illegally based hiring decisions that were based on gender at its London regional distribution center. EEOC stated that the company hired 18 to 25 year old men instead of woman that were qualified for the warehouse jobs.

Houston Unemployment Rates on the Rise

| No TrackBacks

The nationwide recession is hitting some regions harder than others, and the city of Houston is unfortunately being hit with a high unemployment rate.

The Houston Business Journal reports that Houston's unemployment rate topped 8.8 percent in January, which was up from 8.2 percent in December. The unemployment rate for December 2008, one year prior, was only at 6.5 percent.

To put these numbers in perspective, the state's average unemployment rate in January was 8.2 percent, which was unchanged from December 2009. Houston has seen the highest unemployment rate among the five largest metropolitan areas in Texas, according to Xinhua. The said metropolitan areas in Texas include Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth, in addition to Houston. Austin, for example, had an unemployment rate of only 7.6 percent in January and San Antonio was just slightly higher with a rate of 7.7 percent.

Diving Coach at Texas A&M; Claims Wrongful Termination

| No TrackBacks

Former Texas A&M diving coach Kevin Wright is now filing a wrongful termination lawsuit against the university in federal court, according to The Battalion.

The man who coached diving for 17 years at the university now claims that he was terminated because he raised concerns regarding Title IX compliance, which upset administrators. The Texas Whistleblower Act is supposed to protect state employees who report violations of the law.

Mr. Wright said that he had sent an e-mail to members of the Athletic Department expressing concern about compliance with Title IX gender equity statutes and requested that female athletes be treated equally to males on road trips. He then claimed that Athletic Department members acted in hostility to the e-mail.

Disabled Worker Receives $90,000 Settlement

| No TrackBacks

The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that a McDonald's franchise in Philadelphia will be paying $90,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit. The suit alleged that Timothy Artis, a lot and lobby worker at a McDonald's franchise store, was unlawfully harassed because of his intellectual disability.

Mr. Artis claimed that his supervisors had called him offensive and degrading names that were in relation to his disability. There was also the use of force against him, including one instance where he was threatened with a box cutter. His mother eventually stepped in and complained to store officials about the alleged harassment that was taking place, but the company failed to take appropriate action.

Employment Rights For Members of U.S Military

| No TrackBacks

While most employers are not required to pay employees for military leave, there are actually federal laws that prohibit employers from taking any negative job action against members of the United States military.

FindLaw reports that the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) prohibits all private employers from discriminating against those in the military reserves. The law requires employers to reinstate employees who took off time to serve in the military; but only if the employee meets certain conditions.

Alleged Sexual Harassment at Local College Leads to Lawsuit

| No TrackBacks

A woman from Galveston County believes that she has been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace and is now taking action against her former employer. The Southeast Texas Record reports that the plaintiff, Sandra Brewer, is hoping to receive $75,000 from the community college that she worked for. With the help from her Texas employment lawyer Anthony P. Griffin, she has filed a lawsuit against the college.

While employed at College of the Mainland, Ms. Brewer says that she went through "a two-year pattern of sexual harassment" between early 2006 and mid-2008. She alleges that Al Bass, one of the college's associate vice presidents, persistently made sexual advances and remarks toward her on an almost daily basis. The plaintiff told Mr. Bass to stop the misconduct, but the Southeast Texas Record reports that he ignored her requests.

Class Action Suit Filed Against Cafe Gecko

| No TrackBacks

If you've worked at Cafe Gecko at any time within the past three years, you might be able to receive compensation through a class action lawsuit. Houston employment lawyer Robert Debes Jr. will be representing the proposed class.

Tabatha Green, a waitress with Cafe Gecko in The Colony, claims that the restaurant has violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to The Southeast Texas Record. The violation comes from the restaurant requiring its waiters and servers to participate in a tip pool. This pool was shared with members of management.

The Debate Over Unemployment Extension in the Senate

| No TrackBacks

Millions of unemployed Americans are hoping that the U.S Senate passes a bill this week that would extend government funding of highway and transit programs, and at the same time temporarily extend unemployment benefits for 400,000 Americans. The Wall Street Journal reports that some U.S senators are confident that the bill for the extension of unemployment benefits will pass in the Senate and believe the bill will be brought to the floor again this week.

However, some U.S senators have expressed a strong disapproval of the bill because of the expensive $10 billion price tag. Sen. Jim Bunning of Kentucky is perhaps the most vocal opponent to the bill, saying that the piece of legislation will add to the national debt. Yet some senators are supporting Mr. Bunning, including the Lone Star state's very own Texas senator John Cornyn.

A prominent law firm from San Antonio is facing some legal trouble with the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) because of alleged sexual misconduct and retaliation within the firm. Now the EEOC reports that they have filed a subpoena enforcement suit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division because Malaise Law Firm, P.C. refuses to provide information and/or documents responsive to an EEOC investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation.

Texas employment lawyers from EEOC are now looking to subpoena the requested information. LawBrain reports that a subpoena compels an individual to appear in court and provide testimony at a specific time. An individual who receives subpoena but fails to appear in court could face civil and criminal penalties; after being charged with contempt.

Age Discrimination in the Workplace

| No TrackBacks

Did you know that it's illegal for an employer to discriminate against job applicants and employees on the basis of age?

At the federal level, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on age; at least employees who are 40 years of age and older, according to FindLaw. It could be very difficult to prove that an employer has been discriminatory on the basis of age, but in Texas there are many Houston employment lawyers that can help. It's important that the employee shows that there has been some sort of adverse action taken on the basis of his or her age in order for a discrimination lawsuit to be successful.

Taking Time Off For Jury Duty

| No TrackBacks

Sometimes employers will put pressure on employees to avoid serving on a jury. However, it's important to note that jury duty is mandatory no matter what jurisdiction you're in. Those who do not show up for jury duty service can even face criminal charges.

It's illegal in Texas for employers to not give time off for jury duty and it can be legally troublesome for employers to discourage employees from serving on a jury. According to FindLaw, the rules for jury duty leave widely vary by state.

While some employers will pay employees when they take time off to serve on a jury, the Travis County Clerk's Office of Texas writes that no employer in the Lone Star state is actually required to pay employees for time missed to participate in jury service.