Author Archives: dholmes

What Are the Rights of an At-Will Employee in Texas?

The vast majority of workers in Texas are at-will employees, which means that they can be fired for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all.  For a general discussion of at-will employment, click here. So what are the rights of at-will employees in Texas?  This article provides a general discussion of the… Read More »

Beaumont Court of Appeals: Age Discrimination Claim Accrued When Layoffs Were Announced, Not When They Occurred

The Beaumont Court of Appeals considered an age discrimination claim in Floersheim v. Motiva Enterprises, LLC, which was decided on March 28, 2013. The employer laid off the plaintiff from his job at a factory.  The plaintiff later filed a charge of discrimination based on age with the Texas Workforce Commission.  The employer moved for… Read More »

Fifth Circuit: No Attorneys’ Fees in a Mixed-Motive Retaliation Case If the Employer Proves That the Employee Would Have Been Fired Anyway

In Carter v. Luminant Power Services Co., No. 12-10642 (5th Cir. April 3, 2013), the Fifth Circuit addressed an unusual question of statutory construction relating to Title VII.  The plaintiff had complained to his employer about race discrimination.  His employer subsequently disciplined him.  The plaintiff brought a Title VII action, claiming that the discipline constituted… Read More »

Fifth Circuit Grants Rehearing En Banc in a Same-Sex Harassment Case

The Fifth Circuit has announced that it will rehear a same-sex harassment case en banc.  The case is EEOC v. Boh Brothers Construction Co., No. 11-30770.  The issue is whether a plaintiff can establish gender discrimination based solely on sexual stereotyping. The panel decision described the facts as follows: Kerry Woods began working as an… Read More »

First Court of Appeals Rejects “Continuation” Theory of Successor Liability Under Title VII

What happens when an employment discrimination plantiff obtains a judgment against a corporate defendant, but the owner of the company puts the corporation into bankruptcy and continues the business with a new corporation?  The First Court of Appeals addressed this issue in E-Quest Management, LLC v. Shaw, No. 01-11-00296-CV (Tex. App. — Houston [1st Dist.] March… Read More »

What Are the Retaliation Laws in Texas?

A retaliation claim is similar to, but different from, a discrimination claim.  The discrimination statutes protect various employees with various characteristics, from race to sex to disability status to immigration status.  The discrimination statutes also protect people who engage in certain activities, from claiming family or medical leave to serving on a jury to joining a… Read More »

What Are the Discrimination Laws in Texas?

Any employee in Texas is protected by a host of federal and state discrimination statutes.  This article lists the various discrimination laws and in some cases provides a link to additional information about a particular statute. For a list of the retaliation statutes, click here. 1. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 This… Read More »

Are Non-Competes Enforceable in Texas?

In many states, an employer will have great difficulty enforcing a covenant not to compete.  In fact, in some states, non-competes are contrary to public policy and are never enforceable (or are enforceable only in specific circumstances such as the sale of a business). Texas is not one of those states.  Texas law will enforce… Read More »

Senate Bill 953: Will Texas Finally Adopt the Uniform Trade Secrets Act?

Senator John Carona of Dallas has introduced Senate Bill 953 in the Texas legislature.  SB 953 would adopt the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, which is a standard set of state laws governing trade secrets.  At present, Texas is one of only four states that has not adopted the UTSA. The UTSA is not significantly different… Read More »

What Is a Trade Secret in Texas?

This is a short guide designed to provide general background with respect to the nature of trade secrets under Texas law. 1. What is the definition of a trade secret in Texas? In 1958, the Texas Supreme Court adopted the following definition of a trade secret, which comes from the First Restatement of Torts: A trade secret… Read More »