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June 2013 Archives

Restaurant failed to protect employee privacy, complaint alleges

Imagine suffering through a debilitating illness that requires frequent doctor's appointments, medication, and time off from work. Now imagine having to share at least some of those details with your boss in order to justify the time off. While employers may require a note from your doctor in order to give you the time off you need, they have a duty to protect your privacy.

Texas company settles retaliation law suit

Reporting incidents of harassment without suffering consequences is something that every employee should have the benefit of. However, there are cases each year where companies will not encourage these reports. In a recent case, a Texas company settled a retaliation and harassment lawsuit that alleged that they punished an employee after he reported that he had been racially harassed by his immediate supervisors.

Employer cannot terminate worker by denying employee rights

One way for an employer to try and wiggle out of providing workers' compensation and employment benefits is to fire the employee within a day or two of the employee sustaining a serious work-related injury that's covered by employment benefits. Texas law and that of other states would frown on and prohibit such a flagrant attempt to violate laws protecting employee rights. According to a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by one former employee, his employer did just that.

For Texas women, fight to end discrimination continues

It was recently announced that Governor Rick Perry vetoed a new law that could have aided women in the fight to achieve equal pay within the workplace. The measure before him would have mirrored a federal law that gives women easier access to the legal system in the event that they are unfairly compensated within the workplace by acts of discrimination. In ending the bill, Perry made a statement that the decision could have the effect of resulting in more lawsuits and increased regulations.

EEOC sues food company for aggressive workplace discrimination

It's good to know that there are virtually no American companies that discriminate against women in the workplace any longer. Uh, well, that's not quite true...just yet. In one state, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a federal sex-discrimination suit against a nationwide company called Performance Food Group Inc. for hiring practices that sharply discriminate against women. In Texas as well elsewhere, workplace discrimination can result in a monetary claim against the employer.

OSHA official earns record settlement in retaliation lawsuit

Four years ago, the top record keeping official at the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Bob Whitmore, was fired. It seemed a weird move at the time -- Whitmore had recently been quoted in an investigation piece done by a newspaper that was looking at workplace injuries, and how they may be underreported. But, OSHA explained Whitmore was fired because of his attitude.

Pregnancy discrimination on the rise

In recent years, it has become increasingly common for women to work well into their pregnancies. Unfortunately, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, reports of workplace discrimination against pregnant employees have also been on the rise.

Government settles OSHA whistleblower case

A former Occupational Health and Safety Administration employee has finally come to an agreement with the federal government over whistleblower retaliation allegations. The dispute went on for four years after the former record-keeping chief was fired after speaking with reporters about the agency's practice of allowing employers to under report injuries.

Even OSHA isn't immune from employment violations

All employees have the right to a safe workplace. Federal and state law embodies that, but people have to enforce those laws. That is why the Occupational Safety and Health Administration exists, but Bob Whitmore, a former OSHA official felt that his own workplace was failing to uphold their duty to the rest of the nation.

Officer's FMLA rights obstructed by employer, says superior court

An employee's right to leave under the Family Medical Leave Act has been a hot topic on this blog over the past few weeks; and though the following example did not occur here in Texas, it highlights some of the complications that can arise with FMLA, in addition to pointing out that many employers (even government employers) can fail to understand the FMLA rules.

Strikes highlight wage theft in fast food jobs

Strikes taking place in major cities across the United States are drawing attention to a major problem for many workers - wage theft. Workers who are staging these protests are asking not only for a higher wage but also for the ability to organize without facing retaliation. 

Texas woman says school retaliated against her for theft report

We recently wrote about the protected status employees have when they use their time off guaranteed by the Family Medical Leave Act. This status says that, once the FMLA leave is up, the employee must be returned to the same, or a similar, position that they held prior to the FMLA leave. In the absence of this rule, employers could take advantage of the employee, bringing in someone to fill in while they are on leave; and then, once they return, essentially "demote" the original employee.

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