Employment & Labor

In a small town police force, one officer is going through some serious emotional issues. His former girlfriend and mother of their child is seeing a senior officer on the same small police force. In March, 2018, the chief of the police force referred Office Michael Grelle to a clinical psychologist for an evaluation. The chief mentioned that Officer Grelle had said he could not control his emotions. The young officer had handled various calls in a haphazard way, said the chief. The officer had cried during a meeting with his supervisors. On March 21, 2018, the psychologist found that…
As an employer and an employee, it is incredibly beneficial to understand how employment law affects your workplace. Employment law governs the relationship between employers and workers. These laws ensure that workers are treated fairly and are able to work safely while also protecting employers’ livelihoods and businesses. Employment laws, also known as labor laws, are based on federal and state constitutions, administrative rulings, court opinions, and legislation. While many workers and business owners are aware of common labor laws – including the federal minimum wage, anti-discrimination laws, and overtime pay requirements – there are many misconceptions about…
In a long-awaited decision, the Texas Supreme Court decided Cause No. 19-0885, Allstate Insurance Co. v. Daniel Irwin (Tex. May 21, 2021) and the hotly-contested issue of whether attorneys’ fees are available in UM/UIM cases.  In a 5-4 decision authored by Justice John Devine, the Court’s majority held “a declaratory judgment action is the appropriate remedy for determining the underlying tort issues that control the validity of the insured’s [UM/UIM] claim against his insurer.”  Slip op. at *2, 5, and 14 (reasoning that “[b]ecause Chapter 37 provides for the award of attorney’s fees, and the UDJA has not been invoked…
Austin Campbell Many employees may be unsure what to do if they discover they have been treated unlawfully by their employer.  Going straight into a lawsuit can be a scary step, and is not always the right one.  If you thought “there must be some government agency that can investigate and fix what happened,” often you would be right.  However, that is not always the case, and sometimes the existence of that agency can complicate things.  This article gives a basic overview of the “exhaustion of administrative remedies,” so that if you find yourself in that situation, you might know…
You served in Iraq twice. Both times, you served in a combat role, kicking in doors. You lost a few members of your Army family, but you accepted that. It is part of the deal you made with Uncle Sam. You were commissioned through ROTC at one of the Ivy league schools. You get out of the Army when your time expires and feel like you have earned a rest. After several months of looking for work, you get a job at a national bank on the East Coast.  Everything seems perfect. The civilian boss loves your work. Your co-workers…
I. Introduction: Late last week, 117 hospital workers sued Houston Methodist Hospital in a Montgomery County, Texas court, challenging the hospital’s requirement that they get the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of continued employment, unless they had a medical or religious excuse. The lead plaintiff, Jennifer Bridges, was a registered nurse at the hospital and objected to being vaccinated on the grounds that the vaccine is still experimental and that workers were being used as human guinea pigs to test an unproven vaccine. One issue, is that COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for Emergency Use Authorization (“EUA”) only, but are…
The white SUV hurtled toward the Guardsmen. The young soldiers reacted. “Suicide bomber!” yelled one. Two others took up defensive positions as if they were armed. But, they had no weapons. They were simply cleaning up the gravel parking lot at their National Guard Armory. They saw two young boys doing doughnuts in the parking lot with their SUV and told them to stop. The boys reacted by racing the engine and hurrying toward the Guardsmen. The boys did not realize they picked a group of vets from Iraq and Afghanistan.  SGM Benavides was older. He was angry, too, but he…
Pregnancy discrimination continues to be a problem in Texas. Last week, Dallas-based Greenhouse Outpatient Center and its parent company, American Addiction Centers, agreed to pay over $146,000 and provide other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit brought against the company. The Dallas rehabilitation center had granted the pregnant employee, a behavioral health technician, a 30-day leave of absence for childbirth. After the employee delivered the baby by caesarean section, which requires abdominal surgery, the employee’s doctor indicated she needed eight weeks to recover before returning to work. Human Resources, however, told the employee her position could not be held…
Increasingly, employers in Texas have been inserting what might be called “liquidated damages” clauses into employment agreements like non-competes or severance agreements. At a basic level, a liquidated damages clause is an agreement that a party to a contract will pay a specific amount if they breach some part of the contract. There is such thing as a proper liquidated damages clause, and there are situations (especially in commercial contracts) where clauses like that are appropriate. However, when used in the employment context often they can be wildly inappropriate, and may even cross the line into being penalty clauses that…