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Houston Employment Law Blog


6 former Wal-Mart workers sue for workplace discrimination

As many Texas readers may know, Wal-Mart is the country's largest private employer, and it hires thousands of people to keep its stores in operation. The company is also consistently in the headlines for being accused of breaking various state and federal statutes. A group of employees from another state have recently brought a workplace discrimination claim against the retailer in a federal court.

The six workers all claim that they were long-time employees who were fired unjustly. One of the plaintiffs was with the company for 28 years when he was let go. The 62-year-old man claims that he had missed work on three occasions, which the company had apparently said was reason enough to terminate him. He claims that other workers who were not black and younger were able to get away with missing more work than he had and were able to retain their jobs. The plaintiff stated that one of the employees had missed work without reason 19 times, and on 11 of those occasions, she did not call to let anyone know she was not coming in to work.

Woman alleges FMLA violations after returning from surgery

According to federal law, the Family Medical Leave Act allows time away for Texas workers in the event of a medical emergency for companies who employ more than 50 people. Since 1993, the FMLA has helped workers during their time of need for instances covered by the law. Using this benefit should not result in retaliation from employers, but unfortunately, it still can occur.

A woman from another state was a full-time deputy clerk who was with the office for over 13 years. She alleges that she had a satisfactory or better performance record. The plaintiff was diagnosed with cancer and alerted her employer that she would require surgery.

Applicants accuse trucking company of workplace discrimination

Many Texas companies use pre-employment screening tests to help screen applicants to achieve the best fit possible for a position. However, some types of testing, in effect, discriminate against protected classes of workers and are illegal. Employers that use these barred types of tests may be faced with workplace discrimination claims.

Celadon, a trucking company that operates in another state, was accused of disqualifying applicants with disabilities based upon illegal medical testing. The 23 plaintiffs were apparently required to take medical exams before a final  decision was made on their employment. The candidates had applied for truck driving positions. According to the complaint, two of the applicants were qualified for the positions for which they applied, but they were denied a position because of disabilities discovered during the medical exams.

Ex-Hooters girl claims race discrimination due to her hair color

Employee appearance policies help to ensure that all workers have an image that reflects well on the companies for which they work. However, these policies should apply to all Texas workers the same way regardless of race. A former server for Hooters claims that she was the victim of race discrimination because of the unfair treatment she received for coloring her hair.

The plaintiff -- who happens to be black -- said she was scrutinized when she came to work with blond highlights in her hair. Her manager allegedly told her that blond hair is not natural for a black woman and informed her that she was not abiding by the employee appearance policy. According to the policy, Hooters servers are to keep their hair colors within two shades, either lighter or darker, of their nature colors. The plaintiff contends that the same standard was not applied to white servers who had dark, but highlighted, hair.

Google age discrimination complaint adds another plaintiff

For some Texas readers, getting a job at Google could be a dream job, but getting one with the Internet giant may not be so easy for people who are over 40. A new plaintiff has recently been added to a past age discrimination lawsuit that represented a 60-year-old man who believes that he was denied a job due to his age. The complaint further alleges that the EEOC is conducting an investigation into the proposed claims.

The newest plaintiff claims that she was able to get interviews for jobs at Google, but she could never get past the in-person interviews despite her qualifications. The woman has extensive programming knowledge and holds multiple degrees. She was contacted in 2007 by a recruiter from Google to be possibly hired for one of two positions.

Woman alleges wrongful termination for taking approved FMLA leave

When in need, Texas employees know that they can turn to the Family Medical Leave Act to take time away from work. Making use of this benefit should never subject workers to mistreatment or losing their jobs. A woman from another state has filed a wrongful termination claim because she believes that she was unjustly fired for taking leave under FMLA.

The woman worked for Centre Lifelink Emergency Medical Services of State College in another state. In June 2013, the plaintiff was on vacation, but she was badly injured in an accident. She had dislocated her hip and suffered a severe brain injury. The plaintiff requested leave under the FMLA to recover, and it was approved from June 12- July 29.

Transgender professor accuses school of workplace discrimination

Achieving tenure in Texas and across the country is an achievement that leads to job security for teachers and professors. Denying people tenure who have worked hard for that right based on workplace discrimination is illegal and unethical. A transgender professor in another state claims that she was denied tenure and made to endure a hostile work environment after she changed her gender identity.

The professor was a male when initially hired by the university in 2004. In 2007, she had changed her identity to female and began presenting herself as such. According to the Department of Justice, she had positive reviews from the department chair and other established faculty members, but she was still denied tenure for the 2009-2010 academic year. Furthermore, when the plaintiff filed a complaint about her rejection, she was met with retaliation and not allowed to apply again. She allegedly was also not able to reapply, even though university policy states that faculty can do so.

Ex SWAT leader files an age discrimination claim after resigning

According to the old adage, age is just a number, but when it comes to the workplace, not everyone agrees. Workers in Texas and across the United States can be judged unfairly by their age and not by the work that they do. A 58-year-old former SWAT team leader from another state alleges that he was the victim of age discrimination after feeling pressured to leave his position.

The plaintiff had been in law enforcement for 26 years, and he was part of the SWAT team for 21 of those years. Because of his strong qualifications, he was apparently encouraged to participate in anti-terrorist missions. For his outstanding performance in 2013, he was given an award for what he had done during SWAT operations.

Age discrimination: Can employment ads show age restrictions?

It is not uncommon for workers in Texas to experience discrimination of some kind during their years of employment. It is concerning that people above the age of 40 -- who may be the most experienced -- are often overlooked when appointments are made. Fortunately, there are remedies for age discrimination. Under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) and the Texas Labor Code, discrimination against individuals who are 40 years of age and older is forbidden. This applies to all governmental entities -- state and local -- regardless of employment levels; private companies that have more than 14 employees are also governed by these laws.

Further restrictions under the mentioned laws include those related to the advertising of job vacancies. Advertisements and notices to invite applications for positions may not include age limitations or requirements. However, certain positions may be advertised with age requirements when such requirements can be justified. For example, applicants for bartending jobs cannot be too young because they will not be allowed to serve alcohol, and those applying for positions with the police and fire department may have to be young and agile enough to effectively perform the required duties.

Woman accusing company of firing her after applying for FMLA

Many workers are blessed to be healthy and have healthy families, but others are not quite as lucky. The law provides leave for those difficult circumstances that are covered under the FMLA. Texas employers should alert their workers to their benefits under this leave and not retaliate against them for taking advantage of the benefits. A registered nurse claims she was not informed of her rights and has taken her case to court.

The plaintiff claims she worked for a nursing and rehabilitation facility in another state for almost five years. She alleges her daughter suffers from a major health issue, and the plaintiff had asked for time away from work to care for her. Each time she needed to take time off, she would alert management to her situation. She maintains that she was never told about her rights to time off under the FMLA until a nursing director finally told her.

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