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Austin firefighters, city agree on resolution to change hiring process

After the firefighters’ union in Austin seemed to have won an impasse with the city over new terms for a hiring process and cadet training standards, a Department of Justice (DOJ) attorney issued a letter threatening that the resolution may send the DOJ back to court. Subsequently, the union issued an amended resolution, KXAN reported on February 5.

The DOJ cited concerns about the delay of priority hiring of minorities in the letter to the union. After the amended resolution was passed by Austin City Council members, the council urged the city staff to hire an outside agency to test cadets within the timeline outlined in the DOJ Consent Decree, but only after the Austin Firefighters’ Association and the city reach a new employment deal.

The city of Austin and the firefighter’s association had yet to establish a new employment deal since the old agreement’s terms lapsed in 2009. According to the resolution, Austin’s capacity for diversity and fair treatment in the fire department depends on ongoing, collective bargaining.

If an employer has willfully or unintentionally violated your rights as employees and you live in the Austin area, seek the legal assistance of our attorneys at the The Melton Law Firm, who may advocate for your rights, by dialing (512) 330-0017 today.


Transgender woman files discrimination lawsuit against Saks Fifth Ave.

A transgender woman in Houston is filing a lawsuit against Saks Fifth Ave. for discrimination and wrongful termination, according to an article by nydailynews.com.

Leyth Jamal said that her employer refused to use her preferred pronouns, forced her to wear men’s clothes and use the men’s restroom. She was also harassed and threatened with violence at her place of work, according the complaint. Jamal was eventually terminated for “inappropriate conversation” though the details of the alleged conversation were never released to her. A lawyer representing the retailer has said that, “it is well settled that transsexuals are not protected by Title VII [of the Civil Rights Act of 1965].” However, the motion was filed a week after Holder clarified that Title VII covers discrimination against gender identity, which includes transgender individuals.

If your employer in Austin or other areas in Texas has violated any of the labor laws instituted in the state or has shown you any kind of ill will that can be classified as discrimination in the workplace, our attorneys at Melton Law Firm can work to uphold your rights. Call our Austin offices at (512) 330-0017 today.


Sexual harassment suit filed by Austin detective against the city

Detective Brenda Bermudez of the Austin Police Department in Texas recently filed a lawsuit against the city after claiming that her co-police officers and the department treated her unfairly in the workplace, KVUE reported on December 31.

Bermudez stated that her co-workers retaliated against her and provided a hostile working environment after she reported sexual harassment performed by her colleagues while she was a team member in the Human Trafficking Unit in 2010.

According to the lawsuit, Bermudez accused her male co-workers of molesting unclothed female victims in sting operations. She was then often teased if she would do the same to the nude female prostitution victims who they rescued, as she was a lesbian. In this way, she was often the subject of offensive jokes.

When she reported the behavior, she was transferred to a different department, while no measures were taken against the colleagues she claimed acted inappropriately.

Workers enjoy legal protections in the state of Texas. Do not hesitate to file a lawsuit against your employer or other parties if these rights are trampled on; call the employment attorneys of the The Melton Law Firm in Austin at (512) 330-0017 today to begin taking action.


Female Hispanic manager sued MLB for discrimination

Forty-eight-year-old Sylvia Lind, the highest-ranking Hispanic woman in a management position at Major League Baseball, said in a lawsuit she filed against the organization on December 11 that she has faced discrimination in the league for over two decades, the Associated Press reported.

According to the lawsuit, Lind, who is currently the MLB’s director of baseball initiatives in the Office of the Commissioner, said she has been passed over for promotions and has been consistently underpaid since 1995. She also claimed to experience a hostile work environment because of her age. The lawsuit also asserted that Frank Robinson, former hall of fame player, was appointed the executive vice president of baseball development despite a lack of qualifications and is paid over $1 million annually.

If you believe you are experiencing discrimination or a hostile work environment in Austin, the attorneys at the The Melton Law Firm may be able to advocate on your behalf. Call our offices at (512) 330-0017 today to learn about your legal options.


Female bosses face greater stress than male counterparts

A new study entitled, “Gender, Job Authority, and Depression,” which will be published in the December issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, revealed that women who work in higher authority posts are more prone to exhibiting signs of depression than their male counterparts.

Co-written by Tetyana Pudrovska and Amelia Karraker, sociologist from the University of Texas at Austin and assistant professor at the Iowa State University, the study took into account data from the past 50 years. As women are elevated into higher workplace positions, they are more likely to face harmful stereotypes and experience greater challenges to their authority.

Pudrovska said the study highlights societal and cultural forces that remain prevalent despite an effort to create greater gender equality in the workplace.

Our attorneys at the The Melton Law Firm in Austin, handle employment concerns, including discrimination in the workplace based on gender. If you believe you have a case, contact our offices at (512) 330-0017 today to learn about your legal options.


Federal judge approves discrimination decree in Austin

Federal Judge Lee Yeakel recently resolved discrimination investigations beginning in April 2013 by signing a decree between the City of Austin in Texas and the Department of Justice concerning the state fire department’s hiring procedures, KXAN reported on November 7.

Results from the investigation prompted Yeakel to agree that discrimination was present in the hiring process and beyond. The decree requires the Austin department to hire 30 minority applicants who pass newly revised examinations. Those who are chosen will additionally receive $780,000 each in back pay.

On the other hand, the local firefighters’ union objected to the decree, claiming that empirical proof of intentional bias on the city’s part had not been present nor proven. It was also claimed that the exams were fair and non-discriminatory. Regardless, the decree will be put into effect.

The attorneys at the The Melton Law Firm know that, unfortunately, discrimination in hiring practices and employment is not uncommon. However, there are legal methods of recourse. Call our offices in Austin at (512) 330-0017 today to learn about your legal options.


AT&T dealer violated employees’ wage rights

The United States Department of Labor reported on October 23 that AT&T Prime Communications, an authorized dealer for AT&T wireless communication plans and products, must pay $122,254 in back wages to roughly 255 former and current employees after the Labor department investigated it for alleged wage violations.

According to the department, the company violated wage regulations by not including commissions earned by hourly paid employees when computing for overtime pay.

Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the Labor department’s wage and hour division in the Southwest, said that the Fair Labor Standards Act has been in place for 75 years, and all employers should have been fully aware of the regulations. The FLSA offers many protections for the rights of workers, including overtime, minimum wage, and accurate record-keeping.

AT&T Prime Communications operates 385 outlets in 17 states.

If you believe your employer has violated your rights in any way, contact the attorneys at the The Melton Law Firm in Austin today by calling (512) 330-0017 to learn about your legal options.


Supreme Court to hear Abercrombie & Fitch religious discrimination case

The United States Supreme Court will be hearing a religious discrimination case against retailer Abercrombie & Fitch next term, Texas Public Radio reported on October 2.

According to Bloomberg, 17-year-old Samantha Elauf applied for a sales job at an Abercrombie store in 2008. Although the assistant manager scored her style points high enough to be hired, the manager’s supervisor claimed that the head scarf did not meet Abercrombie’s look policy, and Elauf was not hired.

A district court ruled that Elauf was discriminated against, but an appeals court reversed that decision. This is not the first religious discrimination case that Abercrombie & Fitch has faced. In 2013, the company fired an employee who wore a hijab and allegedly did not adequately conform to the store’s style policy.

If your employer has engaged in any discriminatory behavior towards you in Austin, the experienced employment law attorneys at the The Melton Law Firm may help you fight back. Call our offices at (512) 330-0017 today to learn more.


Cher’s backup dancers file lawsuit citing wrongful termination

Choreographer Kevin Wilson, along with backup dancers Suzanne Easter and Jacquelyn Dowsett Ballinger, filed a wrongful termination lawsuit on September 18 against 68-year-old singer and actress Cherilyn “Cher” Sarkisian due to alleged racial and age discrimination, the Associated Press reported.

Wilson and Easter believe that race was a factor in their dismissal, while Ballinger, 42, alleged that she was fired because of her age. Wilson said while he was employed, Cher told him not to hire any more black dancers because her shows already had “too much color.”

The trio seeks $10 million in damages from the suit.

An employer doesn’t have the privilege to terminate the employment of his workers on a whim; there are rules that need to be followed for a termination to be considered legitimate. If you are working in Austin and you think your termination was unlawful or unjust, contact our attorneys at the The Melton Law Firm by calling (512) 330-0017 today, and learn about your legal options.


Culinaire International forced to pay in discrimination case

Dallas-based catering service Culinaire International has reached a settlement with the United States Department of Justice and agreed to pay $26,460 for allegedly discriminating against employees based on citizenship status, an article on Justice News Flash reported on September 3.

According to a report by The Daily Caller, Culinaire International allegedly mandated employees to produce additional, unnecessary proof of their eligibility to work in the United States.

Culinaire is also set to form a compensation fund to pay those who may have been economic victims of its actions, change its work eligibility verification process, and mandate its management to attend training and seminars on Immigration and Nationality Act anti-discrimination laws.

Any form of discrimination, when it directly interferes with the prospects of an employee to grow in his workplace, is unlawful. If you have experienced this in Austin or other areas of Texas, enlist the legal help of our attorneys at the The Melton Law Firm by calling our offices at (512) 330-0017 today.

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