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News Wrongful Termination, Workers' Compensation and Work Injuries

You can sue your employer if you are fired for refusing to do an illegal act, the reason for your termination must be only the refusal to do an illegal act an no other reason. This is known as sole cause.

Written by Mr. Roger Davie on Wednesday, 30 Nov 2016.

The cause of action for refusing to do an illegal act in Texas  requires a plaintiff to prove that refusal to commit an illegal act was the “sole” reason for the discharge. The “sole” reason standard is more difficult to satisfy than the “motivating factor” standard of for most wrongful termination claims, and it might even require more than the “but for” cause standard of other employment laws.  In Peine v. HIT Services L.P., 479 S.W.3d 445 (Tex. App.—Houston [read more]

Can you sue your employer for refusing to do an illegal act even if there is a specific anti-retaliation federal statute? The answer seems to be yes. A good day for truck drivers in Texas.

Written by Mr. Roger Davie on Wednesday, 30 Nov 2016.

In Texas it is illegal to fire someone who refuses to do an illegal act.  However, some actions an employee refuses to commit are prohibited by federal laws that have their own anti-retaliation protections. Some employers have tried to keep employees from suing for refusing to do an illegal act by claiming that the employee must sue under the anti-retaliation act of the Federal Statute instead of the Texas general cause of action of retaliation for refusal to do an illegal act [read more]

Your employer cannot fire you for refusing to do an illegal act, unless you work for the government?

Written by Mr. Roger Davie on Saturday, 26 Nov 2016.

The Sabine Pilot doctrine provides a cause of action for an employee who was discharged for refusing to commit an illegal act. Sabine Pilot Service, Inc. v. Hauck, 687 S.W.2d 733 (Tex.1985).  Your employer cannot fire you if you refuse to do an illegal act.  However, if you work for the government (city, state school district for example),  then your employer enjoys sovereign and governmental immunity. See, e.g., Beaumont Independent School District v. Thomas [read more]

Can you sue your supervisor or the employee who is discriminating against you or just your employer?

Written by Mr. Roger Davie on Friday, 25 Nov 2016.

Under Federal and Texas law you can only sue your employer for discrimination.  As an El Paso, Texas employment lawyer I have many employees who come see me tell me they really want to sue their supervisor who has been harassing them or retaliation and discriminating against them. While there was some question at one time about who could be sued, the law has come down that you can only sue your employer and not any of the employees (including supervisors) who work for the company. [read more]

What are the damage caps for employment discrimination cases and how do they apply?

Written by Mr. Roger Davie on Friday, 25 Nov 2016.

There are damage caps for employment cases under both federal law and Texas law.  These caps are based on the size of the employer and apply to what are known as punitive and compensatory damages. Compensatory and punitive damages may be awarded in cases involving intentional discrimination based on a person's race, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), religion, disability, or genetic information. Compensatory damages pay [read more]

​Emotional distress claim can be brought after employer retaliation against an employee who filed a claim for lost wages

Written by Mr. Roger Davie on Sunday, 19 Feb 2017.

Emotional distress claim can be brought after employer retaliation against an employee who filed a claim for lost wages. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has found that a claim of emotional distress can be brought after an employer retaliates. In this case the employer sought to evict the plaintiff after he had brought claims of unpaid overtime. Resolving a split in the lower courts and deciding an issue of first impression for the Court, the Fifth Circuit earlier this week held t [read more]

How much time between the retaliatory act (discipline or termination) and complaint of discrimination is too much to support a claim of retaliation.

Written by Mr. Roger Davie on Friday, 25 Nov 2016.

How much time between the retaliatory act (discipline or termination) and complaint of discrimination is too much to support a claim of retaliation. In Texas Parks and Wildlife Dep’t v. Gallacher, 2015 WL 1026473 (Tex. App.— Austin 2015), the Austin court held that the passage of two months and one week between a supervisor’s discovery of protected conduct and an allegedly retaliatory act was not sufficient, standing alone, to support an inference of retaliatory intent. However [read more]

Texas Supreme Court rules that employee who counseled and admonished a manager to stop asking female employees out to lunch could be fired because the employee was not opposing sexual harassment because no reasonable person would think that.

Written by Mr. Roger Davie on Friday, 25 Nov 2016.

In San Antonio Water System v. Nicholas, 461 S.W.3d 131 (Tex. 2015), the Texas Supreme Court overruled a jury verdict and held that an employee who admonished a manager for repeatedly asking two other employees out to lunch could not reasonably have believed the conduct she was “opposing” constituted sexual harassment. Although the admonishment occurred at a meeting arranged by the employer for the very purpose of warning the manager to cease his conduct, the employer’s sense that the c [read more]

To have a valid case of retaliation an employee must let their employer know that they are complaining abcout discrimination or opposing an illegal discrimination. What words do you have to use?

Written by Mr. Roger Davie on Friday, 25 Nov 2016.

To gain protection from retaliation under the opposition to discrimination clause of Title VII (Federal Law) or Chapter 21(State Law), an employee must have opposed conduct made unlawful by those same discrimination laws. However, there might be a question whether the employer reasonably should have understood the employee was opposing such conduct. In Rincones v. WHM Custom Services, Inc., 457 S.W.3d 221 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi 2015), the plaintiff’s alleged protected cond [read more]

The law requires an employer to accommodate an employee’s religious practice unless accommodation would cause an “undue hardship,” . The Courts have interpreted that to mean that almost any hardship will justify an employers refusal to accommodate.

Written by Mr. Roger Davie on Friday, 25 Nov 2016.

Both State and Federal laws require an employer to accommodate an employee’s religious practice unless accommodation would cause an “undue hardship,” .  The Courts have interpreted that to mean that almost any hardship will justify an employers refusal to accommodate.  Probably one of the most common types of accommodation that a religious person might ask for is try and tell others about his or her faith or to be able to proselytize [read more]