We are experienced in all aspects of employment law. Our litigation practice includes deep experience with a myriad of laws governing the workplace, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the WARN Act and many other federal and state laws. Our workplace dispute litigation experience includes matters involving protection of trade secrets and confidential business information, and restrictive covenants not to compete.
Anytime you have an issue with an Employer you should consult with an Experienced Employment Law Attorney. Never hesitate to call the Gale Law Group.
NEVER WORK FOR FREE
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards to protect employees. Covered nonexempt workers are entitled to a minimum wage of not less than $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009.
This means it is unlawful for any employer to pay a nonexempt employee less than $7.25 per hour. This also means your employer is REQUIRED to pay you for every minute you are working. For instance if your place of business opens at 9:00 a.m. and you are required to be there 15 minutes early, your employer MUST pay you for those 15 minutes.
If your employer has not been paying you for time you’ve worked, or is paying you less than minimum wage, you should contact an Experienced Employment Law Attorney.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides that overtime pay is required after 40 hours of work in one workweek. The rate of overtime pay cannot be less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay.
What does this mean to you?
- If you earn $10.00 per hour, your employer must pay you $15.00 per hour for every hour you work over 40 hours in any one workweek. Each week begins a new work week.
- A common mistake employers make, is counting hours over an entire pay period. For instance if you work 20 hours in week 1 and 60 hours in week 2, it is UNLAWFUL for your employer to average the hours over the pay period to avoid paying you overtime. Regardless of how many hours you worked in week 1, your employer MUST pay you for the 20 hours of overtime worked in week 2.
- You must be paid for every minute you work.
- Your employer does not have to pay you for breaks, but you are not on break if you are sitting at your desk working while you eat, and you must be paid for that time.
- If you are late to work, your employer does not have to pay you for the time you are not present. However, it is unlawful for your employer to “dock” your wages as a punishment for tardiness.
If you have ever worked even one minute without being paid for it, you may need to speak with an Experienced Employment Law Attorney.
DONT PUT UP WITH SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Workplace harassment is not entirely uncommon, but the most common employer violation is Sexual Harassment.
Unlawful conduct includes:
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Request for sexual favors
- Any verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that threatens or implies that an employee’s submission to or rejection of sexual advances will in any way influence any personnel decision regarding his or her employment, evaluation, wages, advancement, assigned duties, shifts or any other condition of employment or career development
- Any verbal or physical conduct that has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an employee’s ability to do his or her job Any verbal or physical conduct that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment
- Certain conduct in the workplace, whether physical or verbal, committed by supervisors or non-supervisory personnel, including but not limited to references to an individual’s body; use of sexually degrading words to describe an individual; offensive comments; off- color language or jokes; innuendoes; and sexually suggestive objects or behavior, books, magazines, photographs, cartoons or pictures
WERE YOU FIRED?
In Texas, an employer may fire an employee at any time for any reason –whether it’s a good reason, a bad reason, or for no reason at all – unless the reason you’ve been fired violates a legal protection. Some examples are:
- A discharge may not be based upon a person’s race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, disability, or citizenship
- Protected activity – something the law entitles an employee to do without fear of retaliation)
- Bringing suspected wrongdoing to the attention of competent government authorities (state and federal whistleblowing statutes)
- Filing various types of claims such as OSHA, federal wage and hour, workers’ compensation, employment discrimination, etc.
- It is illegal to discharge an employee for refusing to commit a criminal act
- If a discharge would violate an express employment agreement, it would be a wrongful discharge, and this includes collective bargaining agreements
- In a recent Texas case, a court ruled against a company that had failed to enforce its anti-nepotism policy for 17 years and then suddenly fired an employee who was known all that time to have violated the policy.
If you were fired for any reason at all, you may need to speak with an Experienced Employment Law Attorney to determine whether you have a claim.
DO YOU HAVE A DISABILITY?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for known impairments to ensure equal opportunity in the application process and to enable qualified employees with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job. If an employee or applicant feels that an accommodation is needed due to a disability as defined by ADA, he or she should notify the employer and make his or her need known in writing.
If you have a disability of any kind and experienced an adverse workplace action because of your disability, or if your employer refused to accommodate your disability, you may need to speak with an Experienced Employment Law Attorney.
ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION
Unemployment benefits are part of an employer-paid program that provides temporary, partial income replacement to qualified individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own. Unemployment benefits are available if you meet eligibility requirements set by the Texas Unemployment Compensation Act (TUCA). If you were fired for any reason other than for misconduct, you may be eligible for unemployment compensation.
When an employee applies for unemployment compensation, employers commonly contest the claim.
If you need to know whether you qualify for unemployment insurance, or if you’re former employer has contested your claim, you may need to speak with an Experienced Employment Law Attorney.
DID YOU EMPLOYER DEVIATE FROM IT’S POLICIES
An employer is not required by law to follow its policies and procedures, however an employer may not discriminatorily apply its policies to certain people, and not to others. In addition, it may be unlawful for an employer to begin enforcing a policy it ignored in the past.
If you have been disciplined or terminated in violation of your employer’s policies and procedures, you may need to speak to an Experienced Employment Law Attorney.
DID YOU SUFFER FROM EMPLOYER RETALIATION?
The law forbids retaliation when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment. Employees are protected from retaliation or reprisal for expressing concerns individually or in groups, or raising allegations of prohibited discrimination.
It is illegal to fire, demote, harass, or otherwise “retaliate” against people (applicants or employees) because they filed a charge of discrimination, because they complained to their employer about discrimination on the job, or because they participated in an employment discrimination proceeding (such as an investigation or lawsuit).
It is also illegal for an employer to refuse to promote an employee because he or she filed a charge of discrimination.
If you believe you have been retaliated against by your employer in any way, you may need to contact an Experienced Employment Law Attorney.