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Texas Employment Blog

UT prohibits faculty/student relationships

University of Texas regents recently passed new regulations that prohibit relationships between employees and students, 18 months after two of its coaches were revealed to have engaged in sexual activity with student athletes, the Houston Chronicle reported on August 22.

According to a press release from the UT System Board of Regents, the amendments prohibit even consensual relationships between faculty or staff and students, in order to prevent any possible abuse of power situation. Relationships can be approved if a plan of action to prevent conflicts is designed and agreed upon.

In November 2012, coach Bev Kearney reported a relationship that occurred ten years previously and was forced to resign. Coach Major Applewhite, however, revealed a one-time sexual encounter with a student and received a reprimand. Kearney has filed a gender discrimination and wrongful termination suit against the school.

The attorneys at the The Melton Law Firm know that in many cases, employers do wrong by their employees, through discrimination, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, or something else. Our Austin legal team is dedicated to holding employers responsible when they act unlawfully. Contact our offices at (512) 330-0017 today to discuss your case.

Appeals court finds for plaintiff in retaliatory firing suit, reversing lower court finding

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans recently reversed a district court decision in a lawsuit regarding Title VII religious discrimination and retaliation claims in a suit filed by plaintiff Lois Davis against Fort Bend County, Texas.

According to court reports, Davis started working as a desktop support supervisor for Fort Bend in 2007 and was supervised by Charles Cook, the information technology director. In 2010, Davis reported Cook for sexually harassing and assaulting her, which led to Cook’s resignation. After Cook resigned, Davis said Cook’s personal friend at the company, and another one of Davis’ supervisors, Kenneth Ford, began retaliating against her, culminating in her termination in 2011.

Davis filed retaliation and religious discrimination charges against Fort Bend after the event in the district court, which ruled that Davis failed to prove that her termination was an act of retaliation for her earlier complaints against Cook, or that Ford’s actions caused her suffering or embarrassment. The Court of Appeals ruled that religious discrimination could have occurred and that the lower court dismissed this claim irresponsibly.

The attorneys at the The Melton Law Firm help clients who are discriminated against by their employers who reside in Austin or other areas of Texas. Call our offices today at (512) 330-0017 to discuss your own situation.

Permian employee fired for refusing to commit a crime

Donald Austin filed a lawsuit for wrongful termination against Texas-based oil and gas drilling manufacturer Permian Tank & Manufacturing, Permian Holdings, Lide Industries, and Lide employee Dennis Pusser on August 6 for allegedly firing him after he refused to join in the company’s pollution violations and cover-up, Courthouse News Service reported on August 7.

PermianLide apparently contaminated ground and water with pollutants, and Austin refused to participate in covering this up; he claimed he would have violated the Clean Water Act. Austin also asserted that Pusser, his superior, assaulted him during their confrontation, and that the company refuses to return several power tools Austin owns.

Under state and federal law, Texas employees have protection under labor and employment laws. If you are working in Texas and you believe your rights as an employee are being undermined, call the Austin-based attorneys of The Melton Law Firm at (512) 330-0017, and learn how we can help you pursue legal action.

APD officers file race, age discrimination suit against city

Around eighteen Austin police officers have filed a lawsuit against the city for alleged race and age discrimination.

According to the Austin American-Statesman, the police officers, aged 40 years old and above and mostly black or Hispanic, were reassigned from their former post as members of APD’s organized crime division in 2013 to various posts that ranged from traffic division to desk jobs.

The officers who filed the lawsuit had been replaced by young, white male officers and these reassignments have negatively affected their career tracks, they alleged in their complaint. A spokesman from the Austin Police Department said they have yet to comment on the lawsuit as they have yet to receive a copy of it.

In 2011, 29 Austin police officers who filed an unrelated discrimination suit against the Austin Police Department and won $1.5 million.

Our attorneys at The Melton Law Firm in Austin specialize in employment cases that include wrongful termination, discrimination, overtime/wage disputes, and hostile work environment, among others. Call our offices today at (512) 330-0017 if you would like to discuss your situation with a friendly member of our legal team.

Positive work experience promotes overall wellness

An article recently released by the Austin Daily Herald discussed the positive impact that a healthy work environment can have on any given employee’s mental and physical well-being. Since many people spend a large majority of their time working, it is important to have a positive view regarding your place of work and co-workers.

In addition to choosing to approach your work with a positive attitude, investing in healthy relationships with co-workers can give you a sense of fulfillment from going to work. Another factor that can improve your work experience is keeping healthy snacks around. Nutritious foods can not only improve your overall health, they can also improve your focus and productivity. Though these considerations may seem like very small choices, committing to them can have an incredibly positive impact on your overall wellness.

Despite efforts to make your work experience positive, you may be experiencing problems due to co-worker hostility, discrimination, or an array of other factors, and you should not deal with these difficult issues alone. An Austin employment lawyer at the The Melton Law Firm is ready to fight on your behalf when you face wrongful treatment at your workplace. To learn about options available to you, call our office today at (512) 330-0017.

Hagemeyer ex-salesman sues company for alleged age discrimination

Harris County resident Odell Hyden sued Hagemeyer North America, Inc., an electrical materials and industrial products distributor, over claims that he was terminated from his position as salesman because of his age, the Southeast Texas Record reported on June 9.

The civil lawsuit, citing age discrimination, was filed in the Southern District Court of Texas Houston Division on May 30. Hyden said in his complaint that he was a salesman at Hagemeyer for over 50 years, but in recent years, he was subjected to negative remarks regarding his age from his supervisors until he was fired from his job on April 3, 2013. His employer fired him for supposed poor performance.

Wrongful termination, which can be characterized by unlawful discrimination, retaliation, or constructive discharge, is punishable by law. Talk to our lawyers at the Austin-based The The Melton Law Firm if you are experiencing a similar situation by dialing (512) 330-0017, and learn how we may advocate for you.

Texas Subway franchise sued for mandating payroll on prepaid debit cards

A Central Texas Subway franchise owner, Destiny Foods, currently faces a class action lawsuit filed by one of its employees, Jake Branson, for allegedly mandating employees to accept their paycheck via prepaid debit cards that accrue costly fees, FindLaw reported on May 25.

Branson said the franchise sent the employees a memo in April 2014 that told them that paper checks would on longer be issued, and employees would be paid on prepaid debit cards. According to Branson, he quickly realized that various activities involving the card charged him extra fees. Branson said Global Cash Card, the card vendor, charged a 50-cent fee to use the debit card at an automotive store and also charged him $1 to make a balance inquiry. A lawyer at the National Consumer Law Center asserted that employees should always have a choice regarding how they are paid.

Fortunately, there are legal protections put in place to ensure that employees get proper treatment at the workplace. If your employer in Austin mistreats you, our lawyers at the John Melton Law Firm may provide you with legal aid. Call our offices today at (512) 330-0017.

Man who sued Microsoft for wrongful termination awarded $11.6M

A civil jury in Austin, Texas found software giant and Fortune 100 company Microsoft liable for employment discrimination based on wrongful discharge and ordered the company to pay $11.6 million to senior sales executive Michael Merceica, who was found to have been the victim of a vindictive ex-girlfriend who was also his boss.

The three-year court battle focused on the defamation lawsuit lodged by Merceica against marketing consultant Tracy Rummel and the wrongful discharge suit filed against Microsoft in 2011.

The court discovered that Rummel, along with Merceica’s former girlfriend, his direct manager and the regional sales director, Lori Aulds, had spread a rumor that Merceica had sexually assaulted Rummel. However, rather than charging Merceica with sexual harassment, his managers instead created a hostile working environment for him.

If you have been the victim of injustice in your workplace, whether through discrimination, wrongful termination, or the creation of a hostile work environment in Austin, the experienced legal team at the John Melton Law Firm is ready to help. Call us today at (512) 330-0017 to learn more about what we can do for you.

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