Articles Posted in Employee Rights

Austin Campbell

Dallas Employment Trial Lawyer Austin Campbell

Summary: This article touches on some of the complex issues surrounding the apparent boom in unionization—will this be a sea change or just temporary? What are the implications of recent union victories in major multinational companies? 

There have been high-profile union victories in the news lately for the employees of major multinational companies, particularly Amazon and Starbucks.  The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”), which oversees union elections and investigates “unfair labor practice” claims, has also gone to bat recently against those same companies for numerous allegedly unlawful tactics they engaged in during union elections.  It could be that unions are on the verge of a renaissance in the face of the “great resignation” causing a shift in the power dynamics between employees and employers.  Indeed, unions are more popular with the public now than they have been in generations.  

Dallas Employment Lawyer Fadi Yousef

Dallas Employment Lawyer Fadi Yousef

Earlier this month, Sheryl Sandberg announced her resignation from Facebook parent Meta Platforms, Inc. Her departure was a surprise to many people. Ms. Sandberg was the Chief Operating Officer of one of the biggest and most powerful companies in the world. She was the primary reason why Facebook scaled from a company with $153 million in revenue and 500 employees in 2007 to its current size, with more than 77,000 employees.

This past week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Ms. Sandberg decided to leave Meta after a years-long process of battling job burnout. She felt like she had become a punching bag for the company’s problems and that she was targeted in a way that would not happen to a man, according to the Journal. This caused Ms. Sandberg to become disconnected from the business and less visible publicly.

Austin Campbell

Dallas Employment Trial Lawyer Austin Campbell

This article gives a brief overview of when and to whom a duty to preserve evidence applies under Texas law, and discusses why it is usually important to clearly put your employer on notice as soon as possible if you have a legal claim against it. 

Many times when someone first hires a lawyer to pursue an employment claim, they ask about getting information or evidence from the employer.  Despite how the media present things, there generally is no legal requirement for an employer to turn over any information whatsoever to a current or former employee, even under threat of a lawsuit.  Texas rules generally allows so-called “pre-suit discovery” in limited circumstances, like to preserve information or testimony that might otherwise be lost (for example, by the death of a witness).   

Employment Lawyer Deontae Wherry

Dallas Employment Lawyer Deontae Wherry

In 1993, Congress passed the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) which provides employees the right take medical leave for (1) the birth of a child or to bond with a child, (2) the placement of a child for adoption or foster care, (3) a serious health condition that prevents the employee from his or her job, and (4) the care of the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent who has a serious health condition. In this article, I will focus on the definition of “spouse”, the expanded definition, and highlight FMLA’s key provisions.

“Spouse” was initially based upon the traditional definition of marriage being between a husband and a wife. Put simply, a spouse was only a person who was married to a person of the opposite sex. As society continued to change, this impacted many employees’ ability to care for their significant other or spouse. For example, employers were not required to return the employee to his/her position and could retaliate against them if the employee requested medical leave to care for a person of the same sex with a serious health condition because this was not a FMLA qualifying reason.

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan is observed by 1.6 billion people around the world. Practicing Muslims will be fasting from dawn until dusk (approximately 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.) beginning on April 2, 2022 and ending on May 2, 2022. Fasting means no food or liquid of any kind. Yes, that includes water! Ramadan is meant to be a time of spiritual discipline – of deep contemplation of one’s relationship with God, extra prayer, increased charity and generosity, and intense study of the Quran. It is a joyous month meant to be shared and celebrated with loved ones.

Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars – or duties – of Islam, along with the testimony of faith, prayer, charitable giving, and making a pilgrimage to Mecca. The practice of fasting is intended to be a reminder of human frailty and dependence on God for sustenance. It reduces the distractions of life to allow time to focus on our relationship with God. Importantly, it provides an example of the hunger and thirst the poor experience, which is intended to encourage empathy for and charity to the less fortunate.

During Ramadan, it is not unusual for Muslims to be up past midnight for prayer and then get up around 5 a.m. to eat the first meal of the day, which must last until sunset. This means lots of high-protein food and drinking as much water as possible until dawn, after which we cannot eat or drink anything. At dawn, Muslims will perform their first prayer of the day, followed by four additional mandatory prayers throughout the day and an optional late-night prayer, which is typically only preformed during Ramadan. Many Muslims, myself included, are typically more devoted to their prayers during this month and try to set time aside throughout their day to timely complete each of the five scheduled daily prayers. For me, that means blocking time on my work calendar to ensure I am not scheduled for meetings or appointments during the various prayer times that fall within work hours.

Austin Campbell

Dallas Employment Trial Lawyer Austin Campbell

Summary: This article gives a rundown of judicial elections in Texas: what they are, what positions are up for a vote, and why you should care about them. 

Although many states elect at least some of their judges, as of 2020 Texas is one of only six states to run partisan (party-based) elections for all state judicial positions.  If you were one of the 17 percent of Texans who voted in the March primary for the 2022 midterm elections, like me you probably encountered several pages of candidates for all sorts of judicial positions in your county and across the state.  All kinds of judges, justices—and something called a “justice of the peace”?  Some of the candidates were unopposed in their primaries and might even run unopposed in the general election, while other races had 3 or 4 candidates competing.  Perhaps the information overload of all these judicial elections is one reason for Texas’s incredibly low primary turnout. 

Employment Lawyer Deontae Wherry

Dallas Employment Lawyer Deontae Wherry

Perhaps you have filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and you have been requested to respond to the employer’s position statement. But, you do not know where to start. You may be asking yourself a few questions such as “What is a position statement?”  and “What should be included in my response to the employer’s position statement?”. This article will, hopefully, answer some of your questions concerning your response to the employer’s position statement. 

A position statement is the employer’s responsive statement to the claims presented in the employee’s charge of discrimination. It is simply the employer’s opportunity to share its version of the facts. While the EEOC states a position statement should be “clear, concise, and complete,” position statements are often the complete opposite. They are generally inundated with policies that are unrelated to the claims at hand and a host of issues concerning the employee’s performance. However, do not panic—here are a few tips:

Austin Campbell

Dallas Employment Trial Lawyer Austin Campbell

Summary: This article discusses Texas conflict-of-law rules as they apply to non-compete agreements, and some ways that employers may try to get around those rules. 

Various articles we have published address in general what a non-competition agreement is and what is required for one to be enforceable in Texas.  But with Texas increasingly becoming a hub for large or even multinational companies, it can be much more confusing for workers to figure out what a non-compete their company insists they sign even means.  That is especially true as companies may demand that employment documents be governed by some other state’s laws, or even another country’s.  

Employment issues will again take center stage at the U.S. Supreme court on January 7, 2022, and appeals related to vaccine mandates are sure to be the main attraction. Alas, vaccine mandates will be squarely before the Court and audiences nationwide will soon receive some clarity from the nation’s highest Court regarding vaccine mandates in the workplace.   

Enforcement of the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandates applicable to government contractors, CMS and large employers had been stayed or partially stayed by various federal courts.  The OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) applicable to most employers having 100 or more employees was stayed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals prohibiting enforcement of the rule.  However, on December 17, 2021, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which was chosen by lottery to hear the consolidated appeals challenging the ETS, dissolved the stay that the Fifth Circuit put in place. Thus, employers with 100 or more employees that are not specifically exempt from the standard due to disability or religious belief must now take steps to comply with the emergency rule. Judge Stranch delivered a gripping opinion addressing the question that has been vexing employers since the beginning of the pandemic:

Recognizing that the “old normal” is not going to return, employers and employees have sought new models for a workplace that will protect the safety and health of employees who earn their living there. In need of guidance on how to protect their employees from COVID-19 transmission while reopening business, employers turned to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA or the Agency), the federal agency tasked with assuring a safe and healthful workplace.

Dallas Employment Lawyer Fadi Yousef

Dallas Employment Lawyer Fadi Yousef

It is no secret that in the past few years companies have been moving their principal places of business from progressive states, like California or New York, to Texas. Texas has been known as a “business-friendly” state, and for good reasons. Among other things, Texas has a healthy economy, a prime location in the center of the country, no state income tax, and affordable cost of living.

One major factor that doesn’t receive much publicity is Texas’s far less-restrictive labor & employment laws. After all, a company relocating thousands of its employees to work in Texas means a lesser risk of violating more restrictive laws in states like California or New York.

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