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September 2010 Archives

More Muslims Filing Religious Discrimination Complaints

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The New York Times reported that Muslim workers filed a record number of 803 religious discrimination claims last year. The number of discrimination claims was up by 20 percent from the previous year and up nearly 60 percent from 2005. Religious discrimination is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, where many victims of religious discrimination in the workplace have gone on to hire Houston employment lawyers and file a lawsuit so that they can be compensated.

Employee of Pilgrim's Pride Sues After Being Denied Bathroom Break

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Orvin Roy LaForce Jr. claimed that he had a medical condition that caused him to urinate frequently. As an employee of the chicken company Pilgrim's Pride, he asked his supervisor for extra bathroom breaks and provided a letter from his physician explaining his condition, according to the Southeast Texas Record. Yet he claims that his supervisor told him that he could only go to the restroom on scheduled breaks and that he would not receive special treatment.

Worker Sues After Being Required To Show Up To Job Early

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It's illegal for an employer to require workers to show up early to a job without pay. The Southeast Texas Record reports that one woman who worked in the scaffolding department at the BP plant in Texas City is now suing her employer, claiming that she was required to report for duty at least 10 minutes prior to her actual start time of 7 a.m. Yet she claims that she was not compensated for the extra time.

Texas Unemployment Rate Rises

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While the Texas unemployment rate rose slightly in the month of August, the Lone Star State's jobless rate still fares better than the rest of the country as a whole.

The Deer Park Broadcaster reported that the Texas unemployment rate for August 2010 was at 8.3 percent, which is slightly up from July's 8.2 percent rate of unemployment. The unemployment rate at the national level was at 9.5 percent for the month of August, which is also an increase from the month of July.

What is the Texas Payday Law?

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In the Lone Star State, there are labor laws that state when an employee is to be paid. As stated in Chapter 61 of the Texas Labor Code, otherwise known as the Texas Payday Law, employees in Texas must be paid at least once a month. Employees that are not exempt from overtime provisions must be paid at least twice a month and the semi-monthly pay periods must consist as nearly as possible of an equal number of days.

The Texas Workforce Commission reports that all business entities, regardless of size, are covered by this law. However, public employers are exempt from the provisions. Under the law, employers must display notices in a conspicuous place that indicate when paydays are. If the employer does not designate paydays, then the employer's paydays are supposed to be the 1st and 15th day of each month.

Former Employee Patricia Stevenson Sues Sam's Club

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A former employee of the Sam's Club in Texas City is suing the corporate giant, claiming that she was a target of abuse by a former co-worker and that the company failed to take action to stop the gender abuse. The Southeast Texas Record reports that the plaintiff Patricia Stevenson is seeking $75,000 in the suit against her former employer.

Patricia Stevenson reportedly worked as an overnight stocker at the Sam's Club store from April 2000 to July 2008. She claims that a co-worker would cuss and belittle her on the job, which she believes was most likely due to her gender. When the employee reported her co-worker's actions to her manager, she was told to ignore the co-worker and the harassment.

Corrections Officers Sue Jefferson County Over Unpaid Wages

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A jury trial has been requested in a case where Jefferson County corrections officers are suing Jefferson County to obtain compensation for the overtime hours they claim they worked during Hurricane Ike in September 2008. The Southeast Texas Record reports that the Jefferson County Association of Deputy Sheriffs and Corrections Officers filed suit on September 7 in the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division.

More Rights Extended to Gay Employees of Federal Government

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Gay and lesbian employees working for the federal government now have something new to look forward to. According to the Washington Post, gay employees can now take leave without pay when tending to a family member's educational or medical needs.

Director of Office of Personnel Management John Berry instructed in a September 10 memo that federal agencies must now extend 24 hours of leave without pay each year to gay workers with a domestic partner. Accompanying children to medical or dental appointments or taking care of a sick partner are some of the ways in which this type of leave can be used.

Taking Time Off For a Religious Holiday

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At this time of year, people of various religions may request to take off of work for religious holidays, including Eid ul-Fitr, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur. An employer is not usually required to pay their employees for leaves of absence taken to observe a religious holiday. However, most employees are allowed to take unpaid time off or are allowed to take a vacation day for their absence on a religious holiday.

Not giving employees time off for religious purposes could be a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. According to FindLaw, employers are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of religion. Under Title VII, an employer must also make reasonable accommodations for employees to practice their religion. Trading shifts with another employee could be considered a reasonable accommodation.

Male Employee Files Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against AbClean

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It's not only woman that are victims of sexual harassment and sex discrimination. The Southeast Texas Record reports that a former male employee of the chemical cleaning company AbClean has filed a lawsuit against the company, claiming that his supervisor created a sexually hostile work environment and that the company "did not exercise reasonable care to prevent sexual harassment."

A Florida woman who once worked as a manager for a Michael's Arts and Crafts store sued the company after claiming that she was fired because she had cancer. After the trial. there was about five hours of deliberation over two days. The jury ordered that the Texas-based arts and craft chain must pay 47-year-old Kara Jorud $8.1 million.

The Palm Beach Post reports that about half of the $8.1 million judgment was awarded for pain and suffering and the other half was awarded to make Michael's pay for discriminating against an employee with cancer, violating the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

Deputies Union Sues Sheriff Adrian Garcia For Overtime Issues

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It's no secret that the Harris County deputies union is furious with Sheriff Adrian Garcia. The Houston Chronicle reports that the union is now suing the Sheriff for forcing deputies to work mandatory overtime. In particular, union members have expressed aggravation over the hiring freeze in the Sheriff's Department, where nearly 400 jail and patrol positions are reportedly vacant. Of these positions, about 170 are deputy jobs.

It looks like Houston employment lawyers are getting involved in the case against Adrian Garcia. Union President Robert Goerlitz told the Houston Chronicle that the lawsuit comes after workers being worn out by the mandatory overtime. He says that most of the overtime needs would go away once the other positions are filled.

Beaumont Pepsi Employee Files Discrimination Lawsuit

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Denying an employee a promotion on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin is unlawful and could be considered a valid reason among Houston employment lawyers to file suit. The Southeast Texas Record reports that an employee of Pepsi-Cola Metropolitan Bottling Group, also known as PepsiCo Inc., filed a race discrimination lawsuit against the company in the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division.

Family Dollar Employee Claims She Was Fired Because of her Asthma

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A former employee of the discount retailer Family Dollar Stores filed a lawsuit against the company in the Tyler Division of the Eastern District of Texas after being fired from her position as an assistant store manager. According to the Southeast Texas Record, Frances Pinson was promoted to an assistant manager after working as a cashier. After the promotion, she informed her manager that she suffered from asthma but could still perform the essential functions of her job.