Articles Posted in Employment Discrimination

While it is wrongful under certain state and federal laws to engage in discrimination against a person who is disabled, not every Dallas disability discrimination lawsuit against a disabled person’s employer is well-founded. In some cases, the employer may have a legitimate, non-disability-related reason for the termination (or other adverse employment action). If the employee disagrees, it is up to the court to decide which party has made the more convincing case as to the “real” reason for the firing.

Facts of the Case

In a case recently considered by the Court of Appeals for the Thirteenth District of Texas, the plaintiff was a teacher who was terminated at the end of his first year of teaching. He filed suit against the defendant school district, alleging that it had wrongfully terminated him due to a disability that he suffered after having a stroke about mid-way through the school year. (Previously, the plaintiff had filed a timely charge of discrimination with the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division, which granted him a right-to-sue letter.)

The defendant filed a plea to the jurisdiction of the trial court, which the trial court denied. The defendant appealed.

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It is not unusual for a Dallas employment law matter that should, by rights, involve only a single issue to grow into a multi-faceted “shotgun” approach (colloquially speaking) lawsuit that adds unnecessary claims, complications, and expenses to what should be a fairly simple matter to resolve. A recent case that began as a whistleblower claim but grew to include several other allegations is illustrative. Fortunately for the employer, the appellate court eventually dismissed not only the add-on claims but the original one, as well.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a recent case filed in Jefferson County, Texas, was a county jail employee who filed suit against the defendant county, asserting a claim as an alleged whistleblower. According to the plaintiff, she was demoted when she should have been promoted, in retaliation for refusal to cooperate with an internal affairs investigation of a co-worker who purportedly had a sexual encounter with an inmate at the jail.

When the plaintiff originally filed her lawsuit in September 2015, she only claimed that the defendant’s conduct was in violation of the Texas Whistleblower Act, but she later amended her pleadings to include an employment discrimination claim under the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act. She also alleged that the defendant had violated a collective bargaining agreement to which it was a party and that the plaintiff’s rights under the Texas Constitution had been violated.

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Arbitration agreements have become increasingly popular over the past several years. In the case of arbitration agreements pertaining to employment law issues, such as a Dallas employment discrimination claim, an arbitration agreement is much more likely to have been drafted by the employer (or its legal representatives) than by the employee.

Thus, an employee may have the belief that arbitration will unfairly favor the employer and that the employee would be “better off” to go to trial rather than have his or her claims decided by an arbitrator. In such a situation, the employee may seek to avoid the terms of an arbitration contract if at all possible.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the real party in interest was the plaintiff in a lawsuit accusing the defendant employer of employment discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Texas Labor Code. The defendant sought to compel arbitration of the plaintiff’s claim, relying on an arbitration agreement that was allegedly electronically signed by the plaintiff. The defendant’s human resource generalist signed an affidavit supporting the defendant’s motion, attaching the arbitration agreement and related documents.

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As in areas of the law, there are strict procedures that must be followed by those who seek legal redress for an alleged act of Dallas employment discrimination.

Failure to abide by the appropriate procedural rules can, and frequently does, result in dismissal of a case brought by a disgruntled employee or former employee. In a case decided last month, a worker’s employment discrimination lawsuit was dismissed because (among other reasons) she failed to sue a defendant that had the legal capacity to be named as a party in such a case.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case considered by the Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas at Dallas, the plaintiff was a former employee of the defendant city attorney’s office. In 2016, she filed a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission, alleging a claim of employment discrimination against the defendant. The Commission was unable to conclude that a statutory violation had occurred but advised the plaintiff that she had until December 25, 2016, to file a formal lawsuit against the defendant. The plaintiff filed suit on December 8, 2016, but she did not identify a person to be served.

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Under Texas law, a claimant seeking damages for an alleged act of employment discrimination must follow certain procedural requirements. One of these requirements is the filing of a “sworn, written complaint” with the appropriate agency within a certain time period. If this initial procedural threshold is not met, the plaintiff will likely have great difficulty maintaining a formal complaint against the defendant in court later on. If you have questions about the requirements associated with filing a lawsuit of this nature, reach out to a dedicated Dallas employment discrimination attorney.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a woman who claimed that she had been the subject of a discriminatory act when she was not hired, at age 65, for a lecturer position with the defendant college. She contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and completed an intake questionnaire in November 2013, alleging that two younger, less qualified persons had been hired instead of her and that the defendant had stated in a meeting that “young blood” was needed. In April 2014, the EEOC closed the plaintiff’s claim.

The following month, the plaintiff filed suit against the defendant pursuant to the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act. The defendant filed a plea to the jurisdiction of the trial court, as well as motion for summary judgment (seeking dismissal on traditional summary judgment grounds, as well as on no-evidence grounds). Despite the defendant’s argument that the trial court lacked jurisdiction over the matter because the plaintiff had not exhausted her administrative remedies, the trial court denied the defendant’s plea to the jurisdiction of the court.

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A typical Dallas employment discrimination case can involve multiple claims and a wide array of accusations against the employer. If your business has been accused of unlawful discrimination, you should consult an attorney as soon as possible. Discrimination claims rarely “go away” on their own. Rather, it typically takes a considerable amount of time, effort, and legal expertise to reach a favorable resolution of such matters.

Facts of the Case

In a case recently ruled upon by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, the intervenor was a physician (and registered pharmacist) who began working for the defendant county as a primary care clinician in 2008. In 2015, a local newspaper article revealed that there was a pay discrepancy of nearly $35,000 between the intervenor and a male doctor who was hired shortly before the newspaper article was printed. The following year, the intervenor was terminated from her employment.

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Being a defendant in a Dallas employment law case once is challenging enough, but what happens when a disgruntled employee’s claims are dismissed in federal court but he refiles a second suit in state court?

The answer depends on several factors, each of which must be examined in detail by the court in which the second action is filed.

Facts of the Case

A recent case began with the plaintiff former employee filing suit in federal court against the defendant former employer, asserting claims for both discrimination and a hostile work environment, as well as common law claims associated with the defendant’s alleged disclosure of certain information about him to two police departments. The federal court dismissed the plaintiff’s suit with prejudice. Continue reading

Sometimes, an employer can do everything in its power to “work with” an employee, giving him or her the benefit of every doubt, and yet still find itself on the wrong end of a Dallas employment law case.

In a recent case, an employer did not immediately terminate a delivery driver whose drivers’ license was suspended due to drunk driving, placing him in a non-driving position instead. Nevertheless, the employee filed multiple union grievances, an OSHA complaint (after falling in a liquid substance at work), and, eventually, a lawsuit against the employer.

Facts of the Case

When someone believes that their legal rights may have been violated, there are certain rules, procedures, and laws that apply to the assertion of that individual’s claims. In a Dallas sexual harassment or retaliatory discharge case, one of these procedural requirements is the filing of an administrative claim with the appropriate governmental agency.

Sometimes, a claim is made but the employee later tells a different story when suit is filed – one that includes “facts” not initially reported to the governmental agency. In some cases, this can result in dismissal of the subsequent lawsuit against an employer or former employer.

Facts of the Case

For an employee who believes that he or she has been the victim of a wrongful act in the workplace, an important step in a Dallas employment discrimination lawsuit is the filing of a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 days of an alleged unlawful employment practice.

When this does not happen, an employer may be able to have a subsequent claim in state or federal court dismissed due to the plaintiff’s failure to exhaust his or her administrative remedies. Sometimes a claim is filed, but the parties later disagree about whether the plaintiff’s EEOC charge properly put the defendant on notice of his or her allegations.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a bistro manager who alleged that she was the victim of unwanted sexual advances and harassment from the director of dining services at the defendant college. According to the plaintiff, the director touched her inappropriately, made sexual comments to her, kissed her neck, and made lewd comments about her body. She also averred that, after she reported the director’s conduct to the assistant director, she was ordered to close the bistro single-handedly in retaliation for her complaint. She further claimed that, due to her demanding workload, she was hospitalized for high blood pressure and then terminated for insubordination in March 2017. Continue reading

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