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Rob Wiley

Dallas Employment Trial Lawyer Rob Wiley

Gaslighting is a term that has gained prominence in discussions about psychological manipulation and emotional abuse, particularly in interpersonal relationships and professional settings. Coined from the play and subsequent films titled “Gas Light,” where a husband deceives his wife into questioning her reality, gaslighting describes a methodical strategy to undermine someone’s perceptions, memories, and sense of self.

In the workplace, gaslighting can be especially insidious, often leading to confusion, self-doubt, and emotional distress for the victimized employee.  This is a particular problem for Texas employees.

Austin Campbell

Dallas Employment Trial Lawyer Austin Campbell

Summary: This article discusses the holding and implications of the Supreme Court decision in Muldrow v. City of St. Louis.

In the U.S. Supreme Court’s April 17, 2024, decision in Muldrow v. City of St. Louis, the Court reversed a lower court decision dismissing a police officer’s lawsuit over being transferred to a worse position because of sex.  This reinstated her case.  In concert with the Fifth Circuit’s decision in Hamilton v. Dallas County, 79 F.4th 494 (5th Cir. 2023), Muldrow hopefully represents a coming trend of courts finally rolling back decades of judge-made roadblocks to employees’ abilities to enforce their civil rights.  Courts applying the law as written should give employees greater protections by removing opportunities for judges’ preconceptions or assumptions (often about people in very different circumstances from themselves) to get mixed into their rulings.

Riley Carter

Dallas Employment Trial Lawyer Riley Carter

In Texas, the laws governing workplace safety are robustly outlined within the Texas Health and Safety Code. Among its provisions lies protection against retaliation, ensuring that employees who report safety violations or participate in safety-related activities are shielded from adverse actions by their employers. Understanding these retaliation provisions is crucial for both employers and employees to uphold a safe and fair working environment.

The Texas Health and Safety Code, specifically Sections 260A.014, 161.134, and 142.003 prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the code. These rights include reporting safety violations, filing complaints, or participating in investigations regarding workplace health and safety.

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Riley Carter

Dallas Employment Trial Lawyer Riley Carter

As the holiday season approaches, many employees find themselves yearning for quality time with family and friends. Taking leave during this festive time is a common practice, but it’s crucial to understand the legal implications and rights associated with holiday leave under employment law.

Understanding Your Leave Entitlement

For a long time, there was a gray area under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and relevant case law when it came to accommodating pregnancy in the workplace. Under the current laws, discriminating against employees for being pregnant is illegal, but the current law’s protections do not extend far enough. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (“PWFA”) bridges this gap and goes into effect on June 27, 2023. Let’s explore the key provisions of this act and its significance in promoting workplace equality and supporting pregnant workers.

The PWFA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to pregnant employees. Examples of these accommodations include adjustments to work schedules, access to water and bathroom breaks, modified tasks, assistance with heavy lifting, and temporary transfers to less strenuous positions. The PWFA mirrors the process under the Americans with Disabilities Act for receiving accommodations. In brief, engaging in the interactive process would mean approaching your employer or putting your employer on notice of your pregnancy. Then, engaging in the interactive process by asking for accommodations and working with your employer to find a reasonable accommodation. 

The PWFA also mandates that employers provide written notice detailing their protections under the act. This includes information about the right to be free from pregnancy discrimination, the right to reasonable accommodations, and avenues for reporting violations. Additionally, employers are required to maintain records related to reasonable accommodations and make them available for inspection upon request. Both private and public employers are covered as long as an employer has fifteen employees including Congress, Federal agencies, employment agencies, and labor organizations.

There are certain skills that as we go through life we must obtain. One of those of those skills is knowing when enough is enough and it’s time to walk away. And it is a skill to be able to recognize that and act on the recognition. This skill is especially relevant in any type of legal process. The reason why is that sometimes moving forward is not the best action you can take and that’s a big decision, but hopefully some of the considerations below will help to illustrate good ways to analyze the choices made as a client. 

We’ll start with an example of a situation where a big decision must be made: do you file a lawsuit?

That decision should be informed by a multitude of factors and most of them have nothing to do with the law. I know, the law not being one of the main contenders seems like an odd stance, but there are so many relevant human considerations that should be taken into account instead. To take care of this, let’s suppose that the question of filing a lawsuit has already been decided – there are grounds to file, the Firm agreed, and the only decision to be made is whether to go for it. 

Retaining an attorney is never an easy decision, but it should also not be a last resort. The reason why timing is so important is that unfortunately the legal system moves slowly. Even if your case is not tangled up in an ineffective judicial system, it can be tangled up in something worse: attorney’s schedules. Despite how it is portrayed on television, most of law is negotiating with the attorneys on the other side to try and work out a resolution. We are opponents on either side, but the best resolutions come from an agree to disagree attitude with a common goal to resolve things for both our clients. With that being said, as a client there are certain timing issues to be aware of before thinking about retaining an attorney. 

The first timing issue is when to retain an attorney. An attorney being utilized as a last resort sometimes makes sense if there is some legal matter that cannot be handled without one. However, using an attorney as a last resort in situations that are ongoing will ultimately make it more difficult – and here’s why: if the goal is to get a settlement quickly through an attorney and a lot of very serious issues rely on this “quick” timing, you will be disappointed. The law does not work expediently and rewards those who are patient and can stand to the last day of battle. It’s kind of like playing a game of chicken. You have to prepared to go all the way without swerving. If there is a strict timeline attached because of extraneous issues, then it makes things more difficult because sometimes legal schedules do not always match up with personal timelines. It’s also something the other side can take advantage of. 

For example, summertime is a big holiday season for individuals across the world. The same is true for attorneys and their clients. Everyone has overlapping vacation scheduling and things just move slower. Not out of spite for anyone, but because it is summertime and the beaches are calling. By the same logic, November, December and January are also slow months because there are major holidays that fall during those times, though sometimes companies like to settle by the end of the year. Therefore, if you have a choice on when to retain to get the fastest results spring or fall may be the best seasons. 

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.

In a way, Ms. Sandberg’s departure shouldn’t have been surprising. The writing was on the wall. Job burnout is real and it’s becoming more prevalent. It can happen to anyone at any level, like Ms. Sandberg, who earned $35.2 million in 2021 and has a net worth of $1.6 billion.

Suppose both husband and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, have worked for Democan in the marketing department for 15 years. The couple loves their job because they can help their pastor with his re-election campaign. For most of their career, the couple has reported to the marketing director, Joe Abbott. Mr. Abbott retired seven months ago. Democan then hired Donald Paxton as the new Marketing Director.

Since his first day, Mr. Paxton has had a crush on Mrs. Johnson. Mr. Paxton waits until Mrs. Johnson is alone then he approaches her in the backroom and begins to caress her body. Mrs. Johnson tells Mr. Paxton to stop as his actions were unwelcomed and made her uncomfortable. Mr. Paxton continued with his actions, and Mrs. Johnson continued to ask him to stop. Mrs. Johnson had enough, so she engaged in protected activity by filing multiple sexual harassment complaints with human resources. Human resources did nothing. By this point, Mrs. Johnson feared going to work, so she decided that her only option was to file a charge of discrimination (“charge”) with United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). After she filed with the EEOC, she notified human resources and Mr. Paxton that she formally filed a charge with EEOC.

Mr. Paxton called Mr. Johnson into his office and asked Mr. Johnson if he would instruct his wife to withdraw her charge of discrimination. Mr. Johnson refused. The following day, Mr. Paxton wrote up both Mr. and Mrs. Johnson for insubordination. They asked Mr. Paxton how they were insubordinate, and Mr. Paxton had no response. The following week, Mr. Paxton terminated Mr. Johnson for eating chips at his desk. Mr. Johnson does not believe Mr. Paxton terminated him for eating chips because his other colleagues were eating chips at their desk as well. Mr. Johnson believes that he was terminated because his wife filed a charge.

The United States, on a nationwide scale, protects military service members in several ways through the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act or USERRA. One of the ways is to require employers to reemploy service members after their service obligations are completed subject to a couple of extra requirements. But what about the lone star state? The good news is that Texas has laws to protect Texas military forces that track the protections extended to national military forces under USERRA. Chapter 437 of the Texas Government Code is the primary location for these employment protections.

Like most bodies of law, Chapter 437 has multiple provisions that apply to service members, but this article is intended to briefly hit upon 1) who is covered, 2) what that coverage means, 3) how do you become eligible for those protections, and 4) what do you do if your employer isn’t as familiar with the law as you surely will be after you finish reading. 

1. Which service members are covered?

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