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Expedited permit for construction projects passed by City Council in Austin

A new resolution that seeks to include worker protections was approved by the City Council of Austin on Thursday, September 1. The Council added the resolution to a new program intended to expedite the permit process for construction projects.

The worker protections include mandating that construction workers be paid a living wage of $13.03 per hour, receive proper Occupational Safety and Health Administration training, and be able to obtain workers’ compensation. Also, the plan dictates that 30% of the construction pool should come from local workers, companies must comply with employment laws, and a third-party onsite monitor should be present on site to make sure safety standards are being met.

Bo Delp, Better Builder program director for the Workers Defense Project, welcomed the development for the industry, but said that this might pose some dangers to construction workers. Delp noted “More construction workers die in Texas than in any other state. One in five report being seriously injured. 50% don’t even get overtime pay. That was according to a study that was done in collaboration with the University of Texas.”

Our attorneys at The Melton Law Firm provide legal services for our clients in Austin, handle cases that deal with employment issues such as hostile work environments and civil rights violations, among others. Call our offices today at (512) 330-0017 to discuss your situation.

Former Buc-ee’s employee sued for breach of contract

Kelley Rieves, a former assistant manager for Buc-ee’s, was sued by her employer in the 165th State District Civil Court for breach of contract. Buc-ee’s claims that Rieves allegedly left the company in July 2012 even though her contract clearly stated that she should remain employed with Buc-ee’s until at least August 2013.

According to the lawsuit, Rieves started working at the store’s Cypress branch in 2009, but she resigned with a year left in her contract. The company said that Rieves owed them $67,720 in retention pay, which was paid to her assuming she would complete her contract. They added that Rieves’ contract was designed such that her salary was divided into normal pay and retention pay, and that her contract says she should give six months of notice before resigning. A judge ruled that Rieves owes Buc-ee’s $100,000 including legal fees and interest; she is working with her attorneys to appeal the decision.

Our employment lawyers at The Melton Law Firm provide legal services for clients in Austin and other areas of Texas, and we handle employment law issues such as wrongful termination and wage disputes. Call our offices today at (512) 330-0017 to discuss your employment issue.

Austin’s Newly-Instituted “Ban the Box” Ordinance: A Deeper Look

The Austin City Council recently passed the Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance, which took effect on April 4, 2016. This ordinance stipulates that for certain covered jobs, an employer may not inquire about an applicant’s criminal history during the application process, solicit criminal history information about said individual, or disqualify said individual from getting a job if they did not disclose pertinent information about their criminal history.

This recent Austin ordinance is modeled after the United States’ Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s 2012 three-factor screening process, and requires that employers evaluate the “nature and gravity” of an applicant’s past criminal offenses, evaluate the amount of time that has past since the incident and any penalties served, and whether any past offenses could bear on the position for which the individual is applying.

Employers that violate the new law and continue to violate the ordinance 10 business days after receiving written notice from the city of Austin will be subject to a civil penalty of up to $500 per violation.

If you are dealing with any employment law issues, including but not limited to wrongful termination, sexual harassment, or unfair hiring practices, you need experienced legal assistance on your side. Learn more about what our Austin employment lawyers can do to help you by contacting The Melton Law Firm at (512) 330-0017.

EEOC announces $4M settlement for Sara Lee employees

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has recently announced a $4 million settlement for former employees of the Paris, Texas factory of the Sara Lee Corp. after two years of investigations into complaints of workers’ rights and health violations. This announcement marks the largest settlement the EEOC has brokered regarding a hostile work environment case.

In addition to paying monetary damages, Sara Lee was ordered by the EEOC to initiate measures that would prevent workplace discrimination and to deliver periodical reports to the agency regarding working conditions at the factory.

The investigation yielded evidence that African-American employees were exposed to unsafe working conditions, such as black mold asbestos and other dangerous toxins, during the course of their daily work while Caucasian employees were promoted to work in areas of the factory that were not exposed to such substances.

No employer has the right to treat their employees disrespectfully due to prejudices of any kind. If you had been a victim of workplace discrimination in Austin or other areas in Texas, seek the legal assistance of our attorneys at The Melton Law Firm today by calling our offices at (512) 330-0017.

Professor sues Tyler Junior College for employment discrimination

Tyler, Texas professor Richard Tabu has filed a lawsuit on Wednesday, November 18 in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas against Tyler Junior College, claiming that the school is guilty of employment discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

According to the lawsuit, Tyler started working as a full professor in the school’s computer science department in August 2006. Around that time, Tabu started suffering from obstructed lacriminal ducts, a condition which prevents Tabu from producing natural tears and which caused him to request accommodations in the form of a full online schedule in October 2013, a request which the school denied. Tabu was then forced to take a medical leave of absence in January 2014, which used up all of his paid leave time at the college.

The suit claims that Tyler Junior College has continuously denied Tabu accommodations that would allow him to teach a full work schedule, thus violating his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Employees and workers in the state of Texas enjoy certain inalienable rights under laws and codes which employers must uphold. If your rights have been violated in Texas or you feel that you have been the victim of discrimination, the Austin attorneys at The Melton Law Firm are prepared to represent you as we fight for justice. Call (512) 330-0017 today to discuss your case with our legal team.

Texas company facing lawsuit over wrongful termination

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division against Austin’s Park N Pizza, a Pflugerville-based amusement park, after the company terminated an employee based on his intellectual disabilities without attempting to provide any accommodations.

According to the legal complaint filed by EEOC, the employee in question suffered a traumatic brain injury as a child, leading to some mental impairments; however, he was able to work for the park for four years doing maintenance and custodial work.

It was only when the company implemented a new computerized timekeeping system that the employee experienced difficulty logging his hours. After noticing her son had not received payment in some time, the employee’s mother contacted the park and questioned the change, asking that they provide some alternative method of logging hours for her son. The company refused her request and later terminated the employee.

The attorneys at The The Melton Law Firm feel strongly that any form of discrimination is deplorable and should not be tolerated. If you have been the victim of this type of behavior in your workplace, our legal team can help you explore your legal options and take action to put a stop to this injustice. To discuss your situation with our attorneys, call us at (512) 330-0017 today.

Texas court rejects wrongful termination suit of football coach

The appeal claim of wrongful termination by Michael Charles “Mike” Leach against Texas Tech University was recently rejected by the Texas Supreme Court, according to NBC DFW on May 9.

The 7th Texas Court of Appeals sided with the lower court in November 2014. The Supreme Court’s denial of Leach’s appeal on May 1 upholds those previous decisions.

Leach’s legal counsel, said he plans to discuss new legal responses to the circumstance at hand with his client, who is now a football coach at Washington State University.

Texas Tech fired Leach over allegations that he mistreated a player, which led to the student suffering a concussion. Leach claimed that the boy’s father, former ESPN broadcaster Craig James, incited these allegations. According to court documents, the university only fired Leach after he went to the media.

The attorneys at The Melton Law Firm in Austin represent those who have been wrongfully terminated or discriminated against at work. Contact us today at (512) 330-0017 today to discuss your legal options and begin taking action.

Former credit union branch manager sues over wrongful termination

Sugarland, Texas resident Roxanne Johnson, who worked as a branch manager at Texas Dow Employees Credit Union’s Rosenberg location beginning in 1996, filed a lawsuit against the company with claims of racial discrimination against her in 2014, the Southeast Texas Record reported on April 30.

The complaint stipulates that Johnson received positive performance reviews during her tenure as branch manager and was not issued any disciplinary actions regarding her work ethics. Despite this, the company promoted a Caucasian employee who had been with the company for fewer years than Johnson on July 1, 2014. That same manager terminated Johnson on July 10, 2014 for perceived “forced balancing.” When she collected unemployment, Johnson found out that this was not the official reason she was fired.

According to the lawsuit, the company failed to present evidence of formal decision making, policy or documents that justified Johnson’s termination.

The attorneys at The Melton Law Firm in Austin know that employees are often vulnerable to mistreatment and discrimination by their employers. Although you may feel powerless, there are methods of legal recourse that can hold your employer accountable. Call our offices at (512) 330-0017 today to learn more.

Hung jury in Jefferson County over racial discrimination case

The trial of a former employee of American Valve and Hydrant Manufacturing who was seeking punitive damages for racial discrimination and retaliation ended in mistrial on April 6, the Southeast Texas Record reported.

African-American Dennis Dumes said his former employer, American Cast Iron Pipe and American Valve, failed to promote him over the course of 27 years despite positive performance reviews–promoting Caucasian workers instead.

The jury decided that race was not a motivating factor as to why American Valve decided not to promote Dunes after August 25, 2009; however, the jury was not able to confidently determine whether Dunes was not promoted after that time due to retaliation over filing a complaint with the EEOC and the eventual lawsuit. Due to the hung jury, the trial was declared a mistrial.

If you have been the victim of retaliation, discrimination, or wrongful termination at your place of work in Austin or other areas in Texas, seek legal assistance from our attorneys at The Melton Law Firm by calling our offices today at (512) 330-0017.

Transgender man settles case against AT&T for undisclosed amount

Transgender man Matthew Hileman and his former employer, multinational telecommunications corporation AT&T, Inc., and the city of San Antonio, Texas have settled the lawsuit Hileman lodged against the latter two for an undisclosed amount 15 months after he first filed the case.

According to Hileman’s complaint, back in 2014, he asked to be reassigned to another office because he could no longer endure the insults and jests hurled his way by his co-workers regarding his sexuality and was fired the week after.

Hileman then filed the first claim of transgender discrimination under San Antonio’s new non-discrimination ordinance that took effect in September 2013.

After mediation between Hileman and AT&T in September 2014 did not reach any legal consensus, AT&T denied any liability in the case and told the city attorney’s office that it had cleared two of the employees that Hileman accused of discrimination of any wrongdoing.

If you have experienced wrongful termination, discrimination, sexual harassment, or a hostile work environment, the attorneys at The Melton Law Firm may help you hold the responsible parties fully accountable. Call our offices at (512) 330-0017 today to begin taking action.

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