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Houston Employment Law Blog

Is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act working?

The federal government took actions back in 1967 to ensure that older Americans, including those here in Texas, are able to find gainful employment regardless of their age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act as modified to remove the upper age limit protection of 65 turns 50 years old this year. The question is whether it is working.

The simple answer is that it "sort of" works. In 2016, approximately 20,857 claims of age discrimination were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. That might not seem like a lot considering the number of people employed across the country, but that number only includes the people who actually filed a complaint. Many more choose not to file claims for a variety of reasons.

Pregnant? Don't forget about FMLA leave

The birth of a child is one of the most exciting, frightening and joyous times in the lives of many Texas residents. Most working parents want to take as much time as they can after their children are born to be with them in the first weeks of their lives. Under FMLA, those parents could get their wish. 

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act allows leave for pregnancies with serious complications. If a doctor determines that an absence from work is needed to protect the mother and the unborn child, FMLA leave would be available. During the first year of a child's life or the first year after an adoption, both men and women may take this leave. Employees may either take the leave intermittently (with an employer's approval) or all at once up to 12 weeks per calendar year.

Throwing money at sexual harassment claims is not enough

Corrections officers across the country, including those here in Texas, have a difficult job. The last thing they need is to deal with sexual harassment from other officers and supervisors. Unfortunately, it is prevalent in many prisons, and one state's legislature recently blasted its department of corrections for allowing the behavior to continue.

During the first half of 2016, approximately $4 million was paid to corrections officers who suffered sexual harassment at work. The state's lawmakers accuse its DOC of failing to address the root of the problem and instead simply throwing money at it. In addition, the women who came forward about the harassment suffered retaliation as well.

Wrongful termination case filed against ESPN

The news is filled with stories of companies that are said to be giving in to pressure from the public when it comes to political correctness and views. Texas tennis fans might know who Doug Adler is, a now-former ESPN anchor. He covered tennis for the sports network until he was fired. He claims in a recent wrongful termination lawsuit that the motivation for his firing was his use of the word "guerrilla" to describe the playing style of Venus Williams.

Adler claims that no one spoke to him about the use of the description "the guerrilla effect" for her style after the broadcast since it is a phrase that has been used in tennis for many years to describe a player's aggressiveness. However, his comment spawned a tidal wave of criticism on social media and in the news. Apparently, many people thought he was calling Williams a gorilla.

Male victims of sexual harassment have legal options in Texas

Unwanted sexual advances can affect both men and women. When sexual harassment takes place in a work environment, men and women should feel comfortable reporting the harassment and seeing the necessary actions taken. Unfortunately, there are many cases in which supervisors may not take the proper steps to address the issues, and victims may need to pursue legal action.

Texas residents may be interested in a sexual harassment case currently underway in another state. Reports indicated that a male police officer was harassed by a female superior while on the job. The woman made sexual advances, inappropriate comments and used the man's personal information to stay in contact. Reports indicated that this inappropriate behavior continued for approximately a year. Though the man reported the incidents to a male superior, his claims were laughed off. 

Terms of employment contracts could affect lives of Texas workers

The terms of workers' contracts can have a significant impact on how they carry out their work duties and also on certain aspects of their lives. Due to the importance of employment contracts, individuals often want to ensure that they are getting the best terms possible. Unfortunately, parties may disagree on what those terms may be and disputes could arise. 

Texas residents may be interested in a contract dispute currently taking place in another state. Reports indicated that a school district and education association have been at odds for six months since the most recent contract expired in June of last year. Due to having been unable to come to terms for a new contract, the employees have been carrying out their duties under the terms of the old contract.

Whole Foods wrongful termination case may interest Texas workers

Whistleblowing is a term that many Texas employees may have heard at one point or another. In many cases, this term means that individuals have spoken out about actions committed or practices carried out by employers or companies that have negative repercussions. If employees are fired from their jobs for speaking out against unjust actions, they may have cause to file wrongful termination claims.

It was recently reported that nine former Whole Foods managers in another area are taking such action after being dismissed from their jobs. Apparently, the managers believed that the company was committing wage theft by not paying workers bonuses that they had earned. The individuals reportedly spoke out against the company-wide practice and were later placed under an internal investigation. 

Family Medical Leave Act violations should not go overlooked

Having medical issues can make it difficult for individuals to work. However, numerous Texas residents attempt to work through their suffering in order to hold down steady employment. While doing so, they may need time away from work in order to address their medical concerns, and in many cases, certain absences are covered under the federal Family Medical Leave Act. 

Though the FMLA protects workers with medical issues, some employees could still face negative repercussions from their employers. It was recently reported that one man in another state believes his rights under the FMLA were violated. The man worked as a custodian at a university, and he needed sporadic leave due to a medical condition. He was later terminated from his position for excessive absences, though some of those absences were covered under his FMLA leave. As a result, he has filed a lawsuit.

Legal action could help Texas residents combat retaliation

There are many instances in which individuals may feel concerned about certain aspects of their jobs. In some cases, these aspects may be serious issues such as discrimination, wage violations or other unlawful practices. Many workers may feel the need to speak out against such unjust actions, but as a result, they could face wrongful termination or other forms of retaliation.

Texas residents may be interested in one out-of-state woman's predicament with such circumstances. Reports stated that the woman had been an employee at a university, and she claims that one of her supervisors participated in discriminatory actions toward Hispanic individuals. She also stated that she had not been properly compensated for overtime work, and a white employee in a similar position to hers was given a better work schedule. 

Texas victims of sexual harassment have legal options

Feeling unsafe at work is never a situation in which any employee wants to find him or herself. Unfortunately, sexual harassment can quickly result in workers feeling as if their work environment is no longer a secure place. If the circumstances are serious, individuals may have cause to pursue legal action.

Texas residents may be interested in one out-of-state woman's case involving such harassment. Reports stated that the woman works as part of a construction team, and she filed a lawsuit after a male co-worker sexually harassed her at work. The woman had apparently been approached by the man after he overheard a conversation she had had with another individual. The man then made sexual comments as part of a threat. After that incident, the man was allegedly reprimanded.

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