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Houston Employment Law Blog

Former nurse alleges she was fired due to age discrimination

As more older people around the country -- and here in Texas -- remain in good health for longer, they are remaining in the workforce longer as well. At the same time, there are younger, and supposedly more energetic and qualified people, coming into the workforce. There is an often unsubstantiated belief that younger workers will be better at their jobs than those who are seen as approaching retirement age. In some cases, this means that older employees could become the target of age discrimination.

A former nurse recently filed a lawsuit against her former employers, alleging that she was forced out of her position based on her age. She claims that she received favorable performance reviews during the course of her 27-year career until her supervisors began to discriminate against her based on her age. She goes on to assert that she was not the only one who experienced the same thing prior to her termination.

Woman alleges wrongful termination for being a whistle blower

Most companies across the country and here in Texas comply with the environmental and safety standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. However, some companies are not in compliance, and employees might report those deficiencies. In some cases, those employees could become a victim of retaliation and wrongful termination for being a whistleblower.

A woman, who is not from Texas, recently announced that she is going to file a lawsuit against her former employer for retaliation, along with age and gender discrimination. She worked for the same company for approximately 31 years and rose into management during that time. While there, she came to believe that the company was not in compliance with existing environmental laws.

Ex-fire fighter wins years long sexual harassment suit

Texas and federal law prohibit employers from discriminating against and harassing their employees due to their sexual orientation, gender or both. However, that does not mean that it never happens. In fact, sexual harassment and discrimination on the job occurs nearly every day somewhere across the country and at least some of the victims file lawsuits seeking restitution for the damage done to them.

For example, a former fire fighter recently won a lawsuit against the city in which she worked for the fire department. After a trial that lasted eight days, the jury entered a verdict in her favor in the amount of $806,000. She was awarded $545,000 for future wages that she would have earned if she had not been the victim of a retaliation and $161,000 for emotional distress, along with $100,000 in punitive damages.

Former police academy recruit wins age discrimination case

Many Texas residents already know that as the average age of United States residents increases, it is more often acknowledged that age should not make as much of a difference in many industries. However, that does not keep those in certain professions from wanting to exclude people over a certain age. This type of age discrimination is against federal and state law in many cases.

For instance, an out-of-state man filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that he was discriminated against due to his age. The 54-year-old man was ousted from the police academy in his city in Aug. 2012. He claimed that an officer at the academy subjected him to significant discrimination based on his age before that officer terminated him from the academy.

Diving coach gets slap on the wrist for sexual harassment

In Aug. 2015, a male employee of a prominent West Coast university finally made an official complaint against the school's diving coach. He claimed that he was the victim of continuous and pervasive sexual harassment that only got worse when another employee quit. Texas readers might be surprised to know that for all that the employee was put through, the university merely fined the diving coach $455.30 in pay, and he was not even suspended.

According to the complaint, the employee's position at the university required him to interact with the coach. He took the abuse for approximately 18 months before finally deciding to put an end to it. He claimed that the coach even solicited sexual favors from him for money in front of students.

Did sexual harassment claim lead to woman being fired?

Every worker in Texas is entitled to a workplace free from discrimination and harassment. Most employers have policies and procedures in place to prevent a hostile work environment, but not every company's employees, supervisors and managers adhere to these legally mandated restrictions. When a worker files a sexual harassment claim with a supervisor, it is expected that the allegations will be taken seriously. If that does not happen, the victim has the right to pursue all of the legal remedies available.

For example, a woman recently filed a lawsuit against her employer and others after she was wrongfully terminated. A company hired her as a security guard in her state. Not too long after she started working, her co-worker asked her to go with him to a hotel -- presumably for the purpose of having sex.

Man sues former employer for FMLA violations among other claims

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows qualified employees to take a certain amount of unpaid leave for a variety of reasons specified in the federal law. The provisions of the FMLA are designed to give employees here in Texas and across the country the peace of mind that they will not lose their jobs if they have to be out of work for an extended period for a qualifying event. If an employer violates the act and wrongfully terminates a worker, a lawsuit might be appropriate.

A man from another state who alleges that he was wrongfully terminated because the company for which he worked violated the provisions of the FMLA, along with the Employee and Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), recently filed such a lawsuit. On April 13, 2015, the man fractured his hand. He claims that he immediately filed for short-term disability and extended leave under FMLA since the man's doctor notified him and his then employer that he would be out until May 18, 2015.

Do you qualify for unpaid leave under FMLA?

Texas workers might know that they could be eligible for unpaid leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act. However few people really understand what it takes to qualify for FMLA. Below is a summary of the eligibility requirements and what it covers.

An employee may take 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12 month period without having to worry about losing his or her job. There are three main requirements for FMLA eligibility. The first is that the company has at least 50 employees working within a 75 mile radius of the its site. The person must be employed with the company for a minimum of 12 months (second requirement) and 1,250 actual work hours (third requirement) before applying for leave under FMLA.

Sexual harassment suit filed against dean of prominent law school

Numerous stories have appeared in the news lately here in Texas and elsewhere regarding prolific sexual harassment on college campuses. Many of the stories focus on students who are experiencing this issue, but college campuses are also a place of work for many people. This fact was pointed out recently by a woman who has filed a sexual harassment suit against the dean of a prominent law school on the west coast.

The 41-year-old woman complained to the school's administration that the dean made inappropriate and unwanted physical contact with her on a daily basis. He would kiss her face, give her hugs and rub her arms and shoulders. When questioned about his behavior, he admitted to doing those things but claimed that they were not meant to be sexual. However, he also admitted that he did not have the same contact with men who worked for him or with him.

Doctor who claimed retaliation wins wrongful termination suit

Many Texas employees would agree that when they see unethical or illegal behavior in their workplaces, they are duty bound to report it to administrators within the company. Unfortunately, such reporting can sometimes result in retaliation from the employer as well as the employee. Some people are even fired for it. Recently, a doctor claimed that she was the victim of wrongful termination when she told her superiors that she was going to go to authorities regarding what she perceived were illegal and unethical practices.

The woman, who was an internal medicine doctor in another state, began working at a hospital in her area in Nov. 1997. In March 2012, she performed a "cardiac work-up" on a patient in need of surgery. She concluded that the patient would not need a consult from a cardiologist prior to surgery based on her examination. The procedure was to be performed by another surgeon, and a cardiology consult was ordered despite her recommendation. She felt this was unnecessary treatment and billing.

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