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May 2009 Archives

A Word About Layoffs

As an employment lawyer, I'm often asked whether a person who loses his or her job through a layoff or reduction-in-force, as opposed to a termination for cause, has any recourse in the law.  The short answer is:  possibly.  An employer does not shield itself from liability simply by calling a termination a "layoff," "reduction-in-force," "down-sizing," "right-sizing" or some other trendy euphemism.   The issue is almost always: Was there an unlawful motive in the termination decision.  In other words, even if there is a legitimate need to reduce headcount, if, for example, certain individuals are included in the layoff because of their age, race, national origin, gender, or some other unlawful factor, the decision as to those individuals may be unlawful.  It is not unheard-of for companies to use a legitimate layoff as an opportunity to unlawfully disgorge from their payroll employees who are on workers' compensation leave, disabled, pregnant or who have made discrimination complaints against the company.  If you believe you have been the victim of an unlawful employment action you should contact an attorney immediately, as the deadlines for initiating action in such cases can be short and the failure to act timely will result in your claim being barred. GSF

Jury Verdict Against Engenyx Software Corporation, Trent T. Daniel

On November 26, 2008, a Houston jury found in favor of Natalynn Dunson-Harrison on her breach of contract and fraud claims against Engenyx Software Corporation and Trent T. Daniel respectively.  Ms. Harrison alleged that Mr. Daniel and the company promised her the CEO position in the company, while never intending to allow her to perform the duties of a CEO and that the company failed to pay her salary.  She also alleged that she was constructively discharged in violation of her employment agreement with the company.   The jury verdict resulted in a judgment against Engenyx Software Corporation for breach of contract damages and a judgment against Trent T. Daniel for fraud damages.  Ms. Harrison was represented by G. Scott Fiddler.  Click here to see a copy of the Final Judgment in this case.  As of the date of this posting the judgment has not been paid.  (Note: Every case is different and past results are not necessarily an indication of future success, even in cases with similar facts).

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