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Houston Employment Law Blog

New doctors should have employment contracts reviewed

Completing residency is an exciting time for many new Texas doctors. Once an offer of employment is extended, many will eagerly enter into employment contracts only to discover later that the terms are not as favorable as they might have believed. Therefore, it would be beneficial to have any employment agreement reviewed by an attorney prior to signing it.

Most employment contracts are fair enough, but will often be slanted more in favor of the Texas medical facility or practice group rather than the individual doctor. Furthermore, a new doctor who has never signed one might not know what to look for in order to ensure receiving the best terms possible. After enduring residency, some doctors might not pay close attention to the schedule in their contract since "it has to be better" than residency, but that is not always the case. The agreement should indicate what shifts (day or night) and how many shifts are expected, along with specific details on what being on call will mean.

Age discrimination case will not be dismissed

Defendants in lawsuits here in Texas and elsewhere will often attempt to have a case dismissed by claiming that it does not have merit. This happens more frequently than most would like to admit in cases alleging race, gender and/or age discrimination. Whether the case is allowed to proceed depends on numerous factors.

For example, a former university professor applied for a professorship in the university's Women's and Gender Studies program. The 63-year-old woman claims that the requirements for the position were purposely constructed to eliminate her from contention. Specifically, one of the educational requirements was a Ph.D. in a discipline that was not even available until 1995.

Damages phase of wrongful termination case set to begin soon

Some Texas workers might be able to make an argument that their former employers fired them from their jobs as a form of retaliation. If that is the case, they should consider filing wrongful termination claims against their employers. In doing so, they could seek both monetary and non-monetary damages if the court determines that they were, in fact, wrongfully discharged from their positions.

A former employee of the highway department in another state was able to prove to the court that he was wrongfully terminated from his position with the department back in 2013. The issues between he and the town in which he was employed began in 2010 when he sued the town for being fired from his position as the chief of the town's volunteer fire department after he accused the former chief ,who went on to become a selectman, of wrongdoing. He was awarded $27,500 in 2013 in connection with that claim.

Sexual harassment claim results in exit of Fox News Channel's CEO

Employees here in Texas who have been subjected to unwanted advances and other inappropriate behavior might be applauding the resignation of Fox News Channel's CEO, Roger Ailes. His departure from the network comes on the heels of a sexual harassment claim filed by Gretchen Carlson who used to be a co-host on "Fox and Friends," the station's morning talk show. The complaint and the resignation have brought the issue of sexual harassment back into the limelight.

Carlson claims that Ailes made inappropriate and unwanted advances towards her. She further claims that her career has suffered since she rebuffed him. The complaint triggered an internal investigation that caused additional women to claim Ailes sexually harassed them as well.

The Family Medical Leave Act an essential aspect of employment

Balancing work and home life can be a tricky business, and while at times it might be quite easy to handle, incidents can and do arise in which workers suddenly find themselves unable to fully commit to both. The Family Medical Leave Act is often essential in such situations when Texas employees need to step away from work for an extended period of time. However, there are minimum requirements that must be met in order for a worker to qualify for FMLA.

In general, businesses with at least 50 employees must provide FMLA. Simply being employed with such a business is not sufficient enough to fully qualify a worker for this leave, as he or she must have also been employed with a specific employer for a period of 12 months or longer. During that period, he or she must have also worked 1,250 or more hours at a worksite located either directly in the United States or in one of its territories.

Internet giant Google is under fire for age discrimination

Texas residents who work in the tech industry might have heard the rumors that many companies in the industry prefer to hire younger people. If this is the case, these companies are in violation of federal laws prohibiting age discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been investigating one internet giant -- Google -- due to claims that it is discriminating against older applicants.

The investigation became known recently when a woman joined a lawsuit filed by a man in April 2015 alleging that Google discriminated against him based on his age. The woman was 47-years-old when she applied for a position with Google and was turned down. The man was 60-years-old when he applied and was not given a job. His resume indicated that he had experience at companies such as Compaq, IBM and General Dynamics.

Employers are responsible for providing information on FMLA

The fact is that life is unpredictable. Couples have children, people are seriously injured in accidents and serious illnesses can happen without warning. Fortunately, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides for Texas workers to take a certain amount of unpaid leave.

The problem is that many Texas employees are not sure what benefits they actually receive from FMLA. For example, an out-of-state man suffered from a debilitating depression and alcohol dependency. It was recommended that he enter into a rehabilitation program for 30 days. He applied for short-term disability in order to be able to attend the program. This application also served as a request for FMLA.

Woman says firing was retaliation for requesting maternity leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that requires employers to give employees unpaid leave for medical and family reasons that are covered in the act while also keeping the job open so the employee can return to work later on. Sadly, not every Texas employer is willing to keep a job open for an extended period of time. In some cases, employees could be fired in retaliation for even requesting FMLA leave, which could give rise to a wrongful termination claim.

An woman who is not from Texas filed a lawsuit on June 24 alleging that she was wrongfully terminated in March. On Feb. 24, she requested FMLA leave in advance of the birth of her child, which was not scheduled to occur until July. On March 19, her employer told her that her employment would be terminated in two weeks.

Racial and sexual harassment are still pervasive in the workplace

Every employee -- whether here in Texas or elsewhere -- is entitled to a safe and hospitable workplace. It would be nice to believe that in today's diverse and tolerant society, hostilities caused by racial or sexual harassment would be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, these and other types of harassing behaviors remain pervasive in the workplace.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently reported that of the nearly 90,000 complaints it received in the last fiscal year, an alarming one-third alleged harassment in the workplace. The report goes on to say that approximately 60 percent of workers experienced some sort of harassment based on race or ethnicity. In some cases, when workers complain about how they are being treated, they are terminated for their trouble.

Workplace discrimination case filed against prison system

Even in 2016, certain industries remain predominantly male. One of them is the corrections industry, which remains primarily staffed by men. Some Texas residents might assume that women are primarily placed in women's prisons and in the women's section of jails, but in many places, that is not the case. To restrict the positions that a woman can occupy would most likely be considered workplace discrimination.

In fact, this is what several women who work at an out-of-state prison are alleging. Back in 1997, there were rampant allegations that female prisoners were being sexually assaulted and otherwise abused by male correctional officers at the women's facility in that state. In response, the prison system required that a certain number of positions, along with particular positions, were to be filled by women in order to reduce the risk of those occurrences.

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