Employment Law

EEOC hits Dunkin Donuts franchise for $330k in sexual harassment suit

Last week the EEOC settled  a Title VII sexual harassment and retaliation suit against multiple Dunkin Donuts franchises. The $330,000 settlement, which covers multiple employees, includes a multi-year training and oversight provision to avoid similar events in the future. The EEOC press release describes the events alleged in the lawsuit as follows: Hillcrest Marshall violated federal law by …

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Texas Employment Attorney’s 10 Signs You Should Not Take That Job

In a tough job market it’s always difficult to turn down a job but sometimes the company culture is so toxic or the boss is so insufferable that it’s more harmful to your health and career than the benefit of the paycheck. Of course, that’s an easy thing to say when you have a paycheck. …

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Employees must engage interactive process in good faith for ADA failure to accommodate claims in Texas

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and the Texas Labor Code require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with qualified disabilities. A reasonable accommodation allows a disabled employees equal access to the workplace and allow them to perform the essential functions of their jobs. Many employers refuse to provide any reasonable accommodation. This results in a failure …

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Why is there a 10% early withdrawal penalty to cash out a 401k?

Before becoming an employment attorney I worked for one of the largest (maybe the largest) provider of 401k services. We provided various investment, customer service and recordkeeping services for 401k plans. Most people who call for information about their 401k plans will end up talking to my former employer or one of their competitors. Most …

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Can you get a beer on intermittent FMLA? Court says yes.

Intermittent FMLA has always been and probably always will be a contentious issue between employer and employee. Employers often have negative attitudes about intermittent FMLA leave centered largely around self-serving beliefs that employees abuse the legally protected leave rights and do not really need the time off from work. Certainly some employees do abuse FMLA but …

Can you get a beer on intermittent FMLA? Court says yes. Read More »

What is a volunteer under Texas employment law?

Most people understand volunteering means giving away free labor, often to a charity or other non-profit organization. However, sometimes Texas for-profit businesses seek “volunteers” as a way of receiving unpaid labor or an employer requires its employees to volunteer time for a charitable or civic cause. What about these situations? The Department of Labor has …

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What retirement plans can be divided by a QDRO in a Texas divorce?

QDROs–qualified domestic relations orders–are special court orders that divide certain types of employer-sponsored retirement plans as either part of the property division in a divorce, to pay child support, or to pay spousal support. Retirement plans that require a QDRO do so because a state or federal law requires this type of order to lawfully …

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Texas Supreme Court to hear TCHRA preemption case

The Texas Supreme Court has accepted a case out of the Dallas Court of Appeals that will give the state’s highest court the opportunity to expand or narrow its preemption doctrine on employment discrimination claims brought under Texas law. In 2009 the Texas Supreme Court rendered its opinion in Waffle House v. Williams that held …

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Difference between attorney and lawyer

People often used the term lawyer and attorney interchangeably in the United States to denote people who work as legal professionals. Most do so without giving much thought as to why our profession has two labels for the same legal job. These terms have slightly different meanings. (And not just because lawyer jokes tend to …

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Enforcing child support with child support liens and QDROs in Texas

Unpaid child support is a serious problems for many families where the child support may be the difference between keeping food on the table or lights on in the home. Enforcing child support in court can be a challenge when the child support obligor hides money, dodges process servers, or does not have the income …

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In Loco Parentis FMLA Leave — What is it?

In loco parentis sounds like it means “crazy parent”. It is a Latin phrase that means “standing in the place of a parent”. It’s a legal doctrine in FMLA leave regulations. For FMLA leave the in loco parentis doctrine allows employees to take leave to care for an individual who has a parent-child relationship with the employee but …

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Vanguard funds targeted in new 401k excessive fee litigation

401k excessive fee litigation has been an active area of ERISA litigation for over a decade with 401k participants arguing the plan administrator–along with various other plan fiduciaries–breached the duty to prudently manage the investment options of the plan. Most of these cases argue the plan administrator failed to select investments with reasonable fees, particularly …

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What is negligent hiring under Texas law?

Negligent hiring is a claim against a business for an injury caused by the company’s failure to properly investigate its employees for fitness to perform the employee’s job duties and that failure resulted in the employee causing the plaintiff harm in the course of the employee performing his or her job duties. There is a …

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Watch Out for These 8 Holiday Employment Law Issues

The holiday season brings plenty of good times and festivities. It also brings along a lot of potential problems for employers and their employees when employers fail to respect their employees’ time and beliefs. Sometimes this happens because an employer has a particular religious belief or on the other hand does not share a particular …

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Does my employer have to collect interest on a pension overpayment?

You receive an envelope from your pension plan.  As usual you think it’s either this month’s check or some notice you’ll scan and toss in the trash. You open it and it isn’t a check from your Dallas–Fort Worth employer. It is a notice.  But not the kind of boilerplate legal notice that you normally …

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Can you be discriminated against for having a history of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act?

Although the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted 1991, as an employment discrimination attorney I continue to see employees suffer discrimination on the basis of a disability. Sometimes discrimination is based upon a disability cured or treated and no longer presents an issue for the employee. Under the ADA and the Texas Labor Code’s prohibition …

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Can I take FMLA leave and leave under the ADA at the same time?

Sometimes an employee has a medical condition or disability that qualifies for FMLA leave and leave under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a reasonable accommodation. The issue how to protect the employee’s job through protected leave under the ADA and FMLA is complicated. Each law provides a different set of rights to leave …

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The McDonnell Douglas burden shifting framework

Employment discrimination lawsuits are complex suits due to the intense focus on the facts and law involved. Many employment discrimination cases never make it trial because they fail to survive summary judgement. (Or because they settle at some point before trial.) In the journey of litigating an employment discrimination claim many reach summary judgment. Summary judgment is …

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