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A Bexar County jury found in favor of the employee in a retaliation lawsuit. Joseph Sifuentes, an 18 year employee of Bill Miller’s Barbacue, told a female manager to go to Human Resources regarding a male supervisor who was harassing her. The male harasser was a friend of Sifuentes’ boss. The male harasser was fired. Sifuentes’ supervisor, Edward Chagoya, was not happy his friend had been fired. Later, Mr. Chagoya began to harass Sifuentes. When Sifuentes asked Mr. Chagoya about work issues, Mr. Chagoya said management wanted to hang Mr. Sifuentes. In November, 2018, Mr. Sifuentes went to HR himself.…
Many folks will ask me when they are experiencing serious trouble at work, can they simply quit? Things have become so bad at work that just have to leave. Some victims of job harassment will experience headaches, nausea while driving to work, and worse symptoms. I sympathize, but have to tell them that quitting may undermine their case. The challenge with a bad situation at work is that, we can perhaps show discrimination or reprisal occurred. But, showing the work situation was so bad that the employee really had to quit is hugely difficult. In the employment law business, that…
In the decision of Apache Corp. v. Davis, 573 S.W.3d 475 (Tex.App. Hou. 2019), the court of appeals affirmed a jury verdict in favor of Cathryn Davis, a former paralegal at Apache Corporation. The jury found she had complained about gender discrimination and then suffered reprisal because of that opposition. The jury awarded her $150,000 in past compensatory damages. I previously wrote about that decision here. Apache appealed that decision. At first, the Texas Supreme Court denied the company’s petition for review. The company then filed a request for rehearing. In March, the Texas Supreme Court granted the petition for rehearing,…
On June 12, Judge Hughes dismissed the lawsuit filed by 178 employees of the Houston Methodist hospital. I wrote about that dismissal here. Those employees have already submitted their notice of appeal. Now, more than 150 employees of that same hospital have quit or been fired, because they refused to take the vaccine. See CBS news report here. The Methodist Hospital had set June 7 as the deadline to take the vaccine. On June 8, 178 employees were placed on two weeks suspension without pay, because they refused to accept the COVID19 vaccine. Jennifer Brodges, the lead plaintiff, said…
Proving discrimination is never easy. Discrimination requires proof of intent. The plaintiff must prove or show what some manager was thinking. In Thompson v. Zinke, 795 Fed. Appdx. 294 (5th Cir. 2/27/2020), the plaintiff alleged he was discriminated against when he was passed over for promotion. Mr. Thompson noted that a white applicant with less seniority was chosen over him. Plaintiff Thompson had 32 years experience with the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. The hiring agency was the Commingling and Measurement Approval Unit, a sub-agency within the BSEE. The opinion does not identify the race of Mr. Thompson, but…
The Houston Methodist Hospital required all of its employees to get a vaccine against the COVID19 virus. Some 178 employees sued. They argued, among other things, that requiring employees to accept a vaccine not fully approved by the FDA amounted to Nazi science experiments in a concentration camp. Note to future advocates: avoid over-the top rhetoric. Judge Lynn Hughes, a federal judge, dismissed that sort of rhetoric. He noted correctly that no law prohibits an employer from requiring a vaccine for employment. He described the plaintiffs argument that the vaccine was “experimental and dangerous” as both false and irrelevant.  Texas…
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…
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…
Memorial Day is a time to remember those veterans who gave all they had to give for us. I always think of  1SGT Saenz at times like this. Some 100 of us IRR members met at Ft. Jackson on March 13, 2005. We reported to Ft. Jackson, South Carolina for in-processing and reintroduction to the US Army.  We knew we would be deploying to Iraq.  Then MSGT Saenz had a huge laugh and a booming voice. He laughed a lot. Those first few days, some Reservists were angry about being called up. Some were happy to be there. MSGT Saenz…
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…