Federal laws include the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects against discrimination based upon race, color, gender, national origin, and religion; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which protects against discrimination based upon age against people who are age 40 or older; and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which protects against discrimination based upon disabilities, the perception of disabilities, or association with people with disabilities. State laws in Texas include Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code, which protects against discrimination based upon race, color, gender, national origin, religion, age, and disability; and the Texas Workers' Compensation Act, which protects against discrimination based upon workers' compensation claim history.
While many people in Texas maintain happy and healthy relationships with their employers, certain issues can arise in some circumstances in which employees are taken advantage of, or their rights are violated. In such cases, an employee may be entitled to compensation from their employer.
If you believe that your employer has violated your rights in any way, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. An experienced employment law attorney may be able to help you recover damages.
Many people initially assume that they can handle their employment issues on their own, but quickly learn that the legal process of filing a claim is far more complicated than they anticipated. An individual needs to understand the law that was violated and be aware of important deadlines that relate to their ability to file legal claims.
The deadlines are one of the primary reasons that a person should contact an attorney as soon as possible. In many cases, delays in seeking legal representation ultimately lead to cases not being pursuable because time limits have expired.
Additionally, hiring a lawyer reduces the likelihood for confrontations with employers that can be incredibly uncomfortable for employees. Retaining legal counsel will also help an aggrieved employee be taken more seriously.
Your attorney will also have a far greater understanding of the true value of your claim. In some cases, you could be entitled to compensation you were completely unaware of.
The dedicated team at Leichter Law Firm PC assists clients in a number of different employment law matters. Some of the most common kinds of cases we see include, but are not limited to:
An employee who works more than 40 hours in a week is entitled to overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). An employer found to be in violation of overtime laws can be required to pay employee double the amount of the overtime back wages owed.
Harassment is a form of employment discrimination involving conduct based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful when enduring the offensive behavior is a condition of continued employment, or the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create an intimidating, hostile, or abusive work environment.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination based on an employee’s disabilities. The ADA requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees unless doing so would cause undue hardship.
When an employee has knowledge of illegal activity or other wrongdoing being committed by their employer, the employee could potentially have a whistleblower claim. Many people with whistleblower claims have understandable fears about employer retaliation and the effects that reporting could have on their employment.
Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who file specific claims or participate in legal proceedings stemming from those claims. An employer who fires, demotes, harasses, or otherwise retaliates against an employee may face a retaliation claim.
A termination may be wrongful if it violates a contract. Other types of wrongful termination may include discriminatory firings, firings after the filing or workers’ compensation claims, and firings in retaliation for reporting or participating in a complaint process.
Texas Unemployment Compensation Act § 207.049(b) defines severance pay as “dismissal or separation income paid on termination of employment in addition to the employee's usual earnings from the employer at the time of termination.” You should consult with an attorney before accepting any severance offer.
A hostile work environment is usually based on the actions of an employer or co-worker who make it more difficult to work. A hostile work environment usually involves some form of discrimination, such as race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) is a federal law that prohibits age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older. The law forbids various forms of discrimination based on age, including hiring, firing, job assignments, pay, benefits, or other conditions of employment.
Discriminating against a person based on their race is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Race discrimination can involve multiple times of unfavorable treatment on the job based on an employee’s race.
National origin discrimination may involve discrimination based on a person’s country of origin, culture, ancestry, linguistic characteristics, accent, or appearance. Discriminating against a person based on their national origin is also prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) defines sex discrimination as being treated differently than other employees because a person is a male or female, is pregnant, or is subject to stereotypes and assumptions based on sex. Unlawful actions include failure to hire, termination, promotion, or any other term, condition or privilege of employment based on sex.
The ADA and Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code prohibit employers from discriminating against applicants or employees with disabilities in job application, procedures, conditions, and privileges of employment. Harassment based on disabilities is also prohibited under state and federal law.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits employers from discriminating based on pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. An employee cannot be fired or disciplined for getting pregnant, denied employment because she is pregnant, or singled out with restrictions for worse treatment than other employees with temporary disabilities.
The FMLA provides some employees with as much as 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year and also requires their group health benefits to be maintained during the leave. Employees are eligible for FMLA leave if they have worked for their employer for a minimum of 12 months, have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours over the prior 12 months, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles.
Texas Labor Code § 451.001 establishes that a person cannot discharge or in any other manner discriminate against an employee because the employee has filed a workers' compensation claim in good faith or hired a lawyer to represent the employee in a claim. When an employer violates this law, an employee can be entitled to reasonable damages that may include lost wages, mental anguish, and possibly punitive damages.
E Certain employees in Texas agree to plans for commissions or bonuses, and disputes frequently arise when employers modify or revise these agreements. An employer cannot modify any commissions or bonuses that have already been earned.
Covenant not to compete are increasingly common in many places of employment, including for at-will employees. Many employees who sign non-compete agreements do so as a condition of their employment and have serious concerns about how these agreements will affect them if they lose or leave their jobs.
Employment law cases can be incredibly complex and involve many different factors. For most people, these types of issues are incredibly stressful because they directly affect how they make their living and support their families.
Nobody wants to be forced into a position in which they must confront their employer. Even when a person knows that their rights are being affected by an employer’s decisions, it remains difficult for many people to know how they should react or what they should do.
Leichter Law Firm PC understands the common concerns that people can have when taking an employment law action against an employer, and we do whatever we can to make sure that your rights are protected. Above all, we can help you get justice.
Employment law can be confusing, and most people filing employment law claims have never done so before. For your convenience, we have listed some of the common questions we hear at our office about employment law cases below.
The EEOC states that businesses with at least one employee are required to provide equal pay for equal work to male and female employees; businesses with 15 to 19 employees are covered by laws prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and genetic information as well as equal pay for equal work; and businesses with 20 or more employees are covered by laws prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, and genetic information as well as equal pay for equal work.
An employee and an independent contractor could very well perform the same job functions. The difference is usually in how they are paid. With an employee, taxes are withheld from that person’s paycheck. With an independent contractor, taxes are not withheld. The nature of an employment relationship is typically dictated by such circumstances as contracts between the parties, aspects of the job being controlled by the employer, and how long the relationship is expected to continue.
With an at will job, your employment is at will, meaning that either the employee or the employer can end the relationship at any given moment without notice. An employer cannot violate state or federal law in releasing an at will employee, however. With for cause employment, an employer typically needs to have a justification, or cause, for firing an employee. For cause employment usually relates to employment contracts.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the civilian labor force in Texas as of August 2018 was more than 13,822,000 people. The 535,900 unemployed people represented an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent.
The BLS reported that total nonfarm employment included 12,626,500 people. Among these, 260,400 were employed in mining and logging, 766,000 were employed in construction, 878,500 were employed in manufacturing, 2,525,600 were employed in trade, transportation, and utilities, 196,000 were employed in information, 775,200 were employed in financial activities, 1,761,700 were employed in professional and business services, 1,712,200 were employed in education and health services, 1,372,100 were employed in leisure and hospitality, 436,700 were employed in other services, and 1,942,100 were employed in government.
The EEOC reported that Texas had 8,827 total charges filed in fiscal year 2017. Of these charges, 2,999 involved race, 2,740 involved sex, 1,115 involved national origin, 317 involved religion, 483 involved color, 4,740 involved retaliation, 3,730 involved retaliation under Title VII, 1,975 involved age, 2,642 involved disability, 98 involved the Equal Pay Act (EPA), and 32 involved Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).
Nationally, the EEOC reported 84,254 total charges filed in fiscal year 2017. Of these charges, 28,528 involved race, 25,605 involved sex, 8,299 involved national origin, 3,436 involved religion, 3,240 involved color, 41,097 involved retaliation, 32,023 involved retaliation under Title VII, 18,376 involved age, 26,838 involved disability, 996 involved the EPA, and 206 involved GINA.
According to the EEOC, 201 suits were filed in 2017. This was the highest total for any year since 2011, when 300 suits were filed.
The EEOC reported 125 resolutions in 2017. Monetary benefits in these cases totaled $42.4 million, the lowest total of the past three years.
According to the EEOC, Title VII suits resulted in $21.7 million, ADA suits resulted in $7.1 million, Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) suits resulted in $12.1 million, EPA suits resulted in $200,000, GINA suits resulted in $100,000, and suits filed under multiple statutes resulted in $1.1 million.
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) reported that there were 2.2 million nonfatal occupational injuries or illnesses reported in 2016. That same year, there were 545 fatal occupational injuries.
Some people may be dealing with certain issues at work while others may have lost their jobs for discouraging reasons. People have a right to know whether certain actions comply with federal and state employment laws.
In some cases, people may file claims with state or federal agencies that are slow to respond. Any person who has been mistreated in their workplace should make sure that they know what their rights are.
Do you think that your employer has broken the law or otherwise violated your rights? You should make sure that you seek knowledgeable legal representation.
Leichter Law Firm PC handles a wide variety of employment law cases for clients all over Texas. Call (956) 205-0884 or contact us online to have our lawyers provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free consultation.