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August 2013 Archives

Firm to pay $185K+ in owed wages as a result of DOL investigation

Between amounts owed to 95 employees for FLSA violations and H-2B temporary visa violations, an out-of-state firm will be paying more than $185,000 in unpaid wages as the result of an investigation by the DOL. With penalties included, the investigation will cost the company a total of more than $265,000. In a case that is relevant for employers in Texas as well as elsewhere, the employer's numerous violations can serve as an example of how some companies are willing to "step outside of the rules" at times in an attempt to lower labor costs by skimping on wages.

Hourly wages paid to disabled Texas workers: Pennies -- literally

A section of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) enables certain employers to acquire specialized minimum wage certificates which enable them to pay disabled workers below the minimum wage with no limit to how low they go. The FLSA, which was passed in 1938, still provides a great service and a means of protection for workers in The United States, but that section of the law -- Section 14 (c) -- enabled one organization to pay disabled workers in Texas hourly wages that were less than 10 cents per hour. This was in 2011, not the 1930s.

Houston man accuses college of age discrimination, retaliation

A 66-year-old man is suing his former employer, the San Jacinto College District, for firing him because of his age. He filed suit in Houston and he alleges both age discrimination and retaliation. He is suing for an unspecified amount in damages. 

Sexual harassment: Men may suffer more ill effects than women

Everyone hears about the high-profile cases that occur in Texas and across the country. Sexual harassment stories, especially when well-known individuals or companies are involved, can be quite newsworthy. Not so well-known are those cases in which men have been the victims instead of women.

Wrongful termination lawsuit against Texas university is on hold

The lawyer for a plaintiff who is suing Texas’s Lamar State University has broken his hip and has filed a motion for the case to be stayed, or put on hold, as a result. The case was originally filed in May and, in spite of these new developments, all parties concerned are likely to want to put this case behind them.

2-fold discrimination suit results from Texas facility non-hire

A contractor for the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve will be facing a trial by jury after an appeals court reversed a lower court's summary judgment. The privatively-owned corporation will be defending itself against a combined age and disability discrimination suit for refusing to hire an experienced and well-recommended 56-year-old applicant whose wife had cancer. The company had instead hired a 35-year-old applicant with no prior company experience for an open position at a Texas facility.

Denied overtime pay, worker sues former employer

Employees working in the minimum wage range face job-related challenges that often would seem to necessitate the assistance of an attorney. However, many people in this labor force demographic are just trying to keep the electricity going and put food on the table. They may not feel that they ought to contact an attorney to work out their employment-related disputes no matter how valid these disputes are.

Equal wages for equal work law opposed by Texas stores

Two of the largest stores in Texas appear to have made it clear that they were opposed to a proposed state equal-pay law. The proposed law would have enabled women to file a pay discrimination suit at the state level if their wages were found to be less than a man's for performing the same type of work. The bill was vetoed by the governor.

Age discrimination cases grow - winnable, but tough to prove?

Studies have been conducted to determine what types of biases in hiring practices and on-the-job actions are the most prevalent. Much information has been produced regarding employment biases in Texas and elsewhere across The United States and it has been shown, unfortunately, that race and gender can still play a role in what goes on in the workplace. One of the toughest forms of workplace bias to prove, however, is age discrimination.

Age discrimination, retaliation claimed by 21-year-old

Unfortunately, many older workers in Texas are discriminated against because of their age. A suit that was recently filed in another state, however, takes a different turn from the usual age discrimination allegations in the fact that the former employee claims she was discriminated against because she was too young. The employer, an interior-design company, fired her after she spoke to management about this and several other issues she found offensive -- an allegation which also puts her complaint in the realm of a retaliation suit.

Terminated flight attendant in Texas sues Southwest Airlines

A Harris County, Texas, woman who suffers from diabetes and depression is suing Southwest Airlines Co. for wrongful termination.  The woman, a former flight attendant, is filing a suit because she says the airline fired her because of her illnesses. Her conditions do not prevent her from fulfilling her job, and she believes she is being fired because of her health issues.

Missing wages totaling over $106,000 paid out to Texas cooks

A Houston area Chinese restaurant was ordered to pay its cooks back pay totaling $106,573 after labor law violations were discovered. According to a recent news release, the restaurant only paid its cooks a set salary without regard to the actual number of hours worked. The long hours worked resulted in wages that came out to less than the Texas minimum wage amount of $7.25. The release noted that employees at the restaurant normally worked up to 66 hours per week.

Texas employer accused of wage theft

Just last week, we discussed the movement here in Texas for a higher minimum wage. While many people think that employers in San Antonio and throughout the state should pay workers more, it is also imperative to hold employers accountable for complying with existing wage and hour laws.

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