Recent Blog Posts

What Is Disability Discrimination in Texas?

This is a short guide to the principles of law that govern claims for employment discrimination based on disability status.  There are two statutes that apply: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code. 1. What is a Disability? Until 2008, this was the key question in almost all… Read More »

Fifth Circuit: Indian Respiratory Therapists Failed to Establish Pretext

In Assariathu v. Lone Star Health Management Associates, L.P., No. 12-10730 (5th Cir. March 6, 2013) (unpublished), eight respiratory therapists of Indian ancestry sued the Dallas Regional Medical Center for race and national origin discrimination.  As part of a department restructuring, all respiratory therapists were required to re-interview for their jobs.  The head of the… Read More »

What Is Immigration-Related Discrimination?

One of the least well known employment discrimination provisions is found in the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1324b.  Here are the answers to some questions about the statute. 1. Which Employers Are Subject to Section 1324b? The statute applies to all employers with more than three employees. 2. Who Is Protected by… Read More »

The NLRB’s Facebook Decision: What Is Protected and What Is Not?

The impact of social media on the rights of employees has been a hotly debated subject for several years.  The NLRB raised the stakes with its recent decision in Hispanics United of Buffalo, Inc., No. 03–CA–027872 (Dec. 14, 2012).  This case has been widely discussed in the media, yet the the actual implications of the… Read More »

First Court of Appeals Construes an Executive Employment Agreement and Restricted Stock/Stock Option Agreements in Favor of the Employee

Today, the First Court of Appeals issued its decision in Hercules Offshore, Inc. v. Guthrie, No. 01-10-00968-CV (Tex. App. — Houston Feb. 28. 2013).  Ms. Guthrie entered into an Executive Employment Agreement.  The Agreement provided that, if Ms. Guthrie was terminated other than for cause with 24 months after a change of control for the… Read More »

NLRB: A Houston Employer Violated the NLRA by Firing a Non-Union Employee for Discussing Salary Information with Other Employees

A recent NLRB case provides an excellent illustration of the potential effect of section 7 of the NLRA in a non-union environment.  The employer, Jones & Carter, Inc., is a Houston engineering firm.  Lynda Teare, who was a training coordinator, discussed salary information with two other employees.  She was then terminated.  She filed a charge… Read More »

The National Labor Relations Act Can Protect Non-Unionized Employees

The National Labor Relations Act is best known for regulating unions, strikes, and collective bargaining.  It is administered by the National Labor Relations Board.  Given that relatively few Texas employees belong to unions, the NLRA receives little attention from most Texas employment lawyers. However, the NLRA is not limited to members of unions.  Section 7… Read More »

New Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 169 and Employment Cases

On February 12, 2013, the Texas Supreme Court approved Rule 169 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, which provides for expedited proceedings in cases that involve less than $100,000.00 (including damages, penalties, pre-judgment interest, and attorneys’ fees).  The new rule applies only to cases filed on or after March 1, 2013.  An accompanying change… Read More »

When Is an Employee Entitled to Overtime in Texas?

Texas does not have its own statute requiring the payment of overtime to employees of private companies.  Instead, private sector employees in Texas are covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  The Texas Government Code provides that most government employees are entitled to overtime in accordance with the FLSA. Here are the answers to… Read More »

First Court of Appeals: Sovereign Immunity Does Not Bar a Suit for Breach of a Severance Agreement with a Government Unit

Guy Rankin was the CEO of the Harris County Housing Authority.  He had a written employment contract with the Authority.  In 2012, the Authority agreed to buy out his contract.  Rankin and the Authority entered into a new contract providing for a one-time severance payment.  The Authority did not make the severance payment, and Rankin… Read More »