Employment Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Retaliation
There is a wide range of behaviors that can be considered to be employment discrimination, from telling offensive or racist jokes to creating a culture that favors particular employees. In more serious incidents, employees are demoted (or are not being promoted) because they are being discriminated against. If this is the case for you in your workplace, you will want to speak to a lawyer about what you should do as soon as possible.
As part of their initial hiring process, employees often sign covenants not to compete but do not realize it until they leave and seek new employment. At such time, these employees are surprised to discover that the contract they signed containing this covenant can greatly hinder their future employment prospects. Because these clauses limit where an employee may work, earning a living may also be severely limited.
Fortunately, we can help challenge an employer’s enforcement of such contractual clauses. First and foremost, an employer must have given an employee some form of “consideration” to sign the covenant not to compete. A consideration is a legal term meaning value. For example, if your employer did not award you anything extra, above and beyond a job, to sign the non-compete agreement, then the covenant is likely unenforceable.
Call the employment lawyers at Herrmann Law and we will advise you regarding the enforceability of your covenant not to compete. Call us: (817) 479-9229 or submit your case online and our office will contact you.
Whether you are just beginning your new job and have been given an employment agreement or are departing your employment and have been presented a severance package, it is very important that you contact a labor lawyer to review these agreements, before you sign them. The employment attorneys at Herrmann Law offer flat-fee pricing to review your employment agreements or severance agreements. The amount of the flat-fee varies based upon the length of your document. Call our employment lawyers to inquire about pricing and setting up an appointment.
Since 1964, sexual harassment in the workplace has been prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act; however, it continues to be as pervasive today as ever. Far too many times sexual harassment goes unreported, or if reported it is overlooked and goes uncorrected. Sexual harassment takes on many forms and may be as overt as physical aggression or as subtle as a repeated innuendo, gesture or facial expression. Sexual harassment can occur whether the sexual harasser is a male or female, whether the victim is male or female, or whether the victim and harasser are of the same sex. It is not restricted to a physical violation but can also be a violation of one’s integrity and dignity.
If you believe you have been sexually harassed at work, call the employment attorneys of Herrmann Law at: 817-479-9229 or submit your case online and our office will contact you.
Under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 an employer cannot terminate an employee based upon their race, color, religion, gender or national origin. There are additional Federal Laws that prohibit employers from terminating an employee based upon their age, disability, citizenship, and pregnancy. Some Texas cities have also adopted ordinances that create more protection for employees who have been discriminated against for their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 an employer cannot terminate an employee based upon an employee’s:
- National Origin
Additionally, there are Federal Laws prohibiting employer’s from terminating an employee based upon a person’s:
- Age (40 years or older, employers with at least 20 employees)
- Pregnancy (15 or more employers)
In addition, some Texas cities have adopted ordinances that create more protection for employees who have been discriminated against for their sexual orientation or gender identity. If you believe you have been discriminated against, give the employment lawyers at Herrmann Law a call: 817-479-9229 or submit your case online and someone will contact you.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. By enacting the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Congress sought to make clear that “[p]regnant women who are able to work must be permitted to work on the same conditions as other employees; and when they are not able to work for medical reasons, they must be accorded the same rights, leave privileges and other benefits, as other workers who are disabled from working.” The Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires that pregnant employees be treated the same as non-pregnant employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work.
Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, employees with certain disabilities are entitled to request particular accommodations to assist them in better performing their job functions. Yet, persons with disabilities often fear that revealing a disability to an employer may result in their being demoted or even terminated. However, if an employee is demoted or terminated due to any disability, an employer violates the Americans With Disabilities Act. The definition of disability is very broad, and encompasses many medical conditions including cancer.
Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Employers having more than fifty (50) employees are required to provide unpaid medical leave to employees for certain medical related reasons. If your employer is covered by the FMLA, then you may be entitled to unpaid leave from your job. Also, when you return from taking FMLA leave, your employer is required to reinstate you to your previous position or a similar position, and pay you the same benefits as what you received prior to your leave. Your employer may not penalize you for taking FMLA leave and may not interfere with your right to take FMLA leave.
If you think you are entitled to medical leave but your employer is refusing to grant you leave for medical related reasons, call the employment attorneys of Herrmann Law at: 817-479-9229 or submit your case online and our office will contact you.
Employees have a legally protected right to make certain complaints regarding violations in the workplace, such as harassment or discriminatory behavior. Yet rather than address a valid complaint with correction, some employers instead take punitive measures against the aggrieved employee by an undesirable job reassignment, a salary reduction, persisting harassment, or even firing. This is workplace retaliation, and it is illegal. If your employer has taken negative or adverse job actions against you in response to a valid complaint you have rightfully made, call the employment lawyers at Herrmann Law to discuss your rights and protections: 817-479-9229.
Texas State Laws
“Sabine-Pilot” Doctrine – Sabine Pilot Serv. v. Hauk (Tex. 1985). If an employer asks an employee to commit a criminal act, the employee is faced with the possibility of being fired for refusing to do what his employer asks, or facing criminal penalties for committing the illegal act. When the employee – hopefully – refuses to perform the illegal act and is subsequently fired, the employee has a claim for wrongful termination – otherwise known as a claim under Sabine Pilot.
Sabine Pilot Serv. V. Hauk was a case before the Supreme Court of Texas in 1985. In this case the Texas Supreme Court recognized a very narrow exception to the general “at will” rule. A Texas employee may have rights under “Sabine-Pilot” for refusing to commit a criminal act if the act carries criminal penalties and their refusal was the sole reason for the employee’s termination.
Under Texas Labor Code §§ 101.001, a person cannot be denied employment because of membership or non-membership in a labor union or other labor organization. Therefore, you cannot be forced, threatened, coerced, or intimidated into choosing to join, or not join, a labor union. This must be a choice you make on your own free will.
Additionally, if your employer attempts to prevent you from joining forces with other employees to form an informal union, the employer may also be violating the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). The NLRA was enacted to protect employees and to encourage collective bargaining and curtail certain labor practices that harm the general welfare of workers.
Jury duty is job-protected leave, meaning an employee who has jury duty is protected against termination or any other adverse actions taken by the employer due to jury duty. In addition, when an employee is on leave for jury duty, an employer should not count their absence towards an absence limit.
Pay for jury leave is not required under Texas law. Although, if an employer does pay wages or salary while an employee is on jury leave, the law allows for the employer to require the employee to give their jury duty pay to the company.
An employee is entitled to take paid time off for voting on election days. There are two Texas laws that protect an employee from retaliation from taking time off to vote, or for an employer prohibiting an employee from voting.
Texas Election Code – Retaliation Against Voter – Section 276.001
An employer violates the Texas Election Code if the employer threatens to reduce an employee’s wages or any other benefit of employment if the employee refuses to vote for or against a certain candidate or reveal how they voted.
Texas Election Code—Unlawfully Prohibiting an Employee from Voting – Section 276.004
If an employer knowingly refuses to allow an employee to be absent from work on election day for voting or threatens the employee with a loss or reduction of wages or another benefit of employment for voting on election day, the employer has violated the Texas Election Code.
Exception — Although, there is an important exception to this rule. If the polls are open on election day for two consecutive hours outside of the employee’s working hours, Texas Election Code Section 276.004 will not apply.