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Texas had the greatest number of charges filed with the EEOC in 2013

Texas had the highest number of workplace harassment and discrimination cases filed with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) last year, with 9,068 charges filed in Texas out of all the charges filed with the EEOC in 2013, which totaled 93,727.

Second to Texas was Florida with 7,597 charges filed. California, Georgia, and Illinois followed Florida’s lead, with 6,892; 5,162; and 4,781 charges filed with the EEOC respectively.

Retaliation headed the list of discrimination charges in Texas, comprising around 41% of all cases, followed by racial discrimination at 35.3%; sex discrimination, which included sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination at 29.5%; and discrimination due to disability at 27.7%.

When it comes to discrimination and sexual harassment, our lawyers at The Melton Law Firm can help. We have been helping Austin employees who believe their rights were violated get the justice they need, so call us at (512) 330-0017 today to find out how we can help you.

House committee releases report on FDA’s “highly invasive” surveillance of employees

The United States House of Representatives oversight and government reform committee and the Senate judiciary committee issued a committee report on Wednesday, February 26 regarding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) utilizing a stringent monitoring program on its employees who had talked to Congress and the media, calling the process “highly invasive.”

House committee chairman Darrell Issa (Republican of California) and Senate judiciary committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (Republican of Iowa) said they found evidence that this surveillance was not sanctioned and that whistle blowers were not given proper protections.

Grassley said legally protected communications channels are safe from snooping and that “three whistle blowers thought the FDA was caving to pressure from the companies that were applying for FDA approval of whom two were fired, two more were forced to leave the FDA, and five were subjected to an intense spying campaign.”

Employees and workers have legally protected rights under state and federal law. As such, employers who violate these rights can and should be legally held liable. Seek the legal help our attorneys at The Melton Law Firm if you live in Austin and have been unfairly treated at work. You can reach us at 512-330-0017.

Faculty association files lawsuit over wrongful terminations in Brownsville

The Texas Faculty Association, on behalf of three former faculty members who said they were unlawfully let go because of their age, is suing the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College. The wrongful termination lawsuit was filed on Thursday, February 20 in a federal district court in Brownsville.

The staff counsel for the Texas State Teachers Association filed the lawsuit for Juan Antonio Gonzalez, Karen Fuss-Somer, and Dorothy Boven, who were all laid off despite their claims that there was nothing wrong with their job performance.

The three had been granted tenure at TSC and also became tenured faculty members at UTB when the two educational institutions merged in 1992.

According to the lawsuit, the policy to preserve non-tenured faculty members over tenured ones is “an artificial, arbitrary, and unnecessary barrier to employment” that has negative effects on faculty members 40 years old and above.

Our attorneys at The Melton Law Firm, work to ensure that Austin employees’ rights and interests are protected. If your employee rights have been violated by your employer or a co-worker, seek the legal assistance of our lawyers by calling us at 512-330-0017.

Austin Fire Department hiring hiatus ongoing due to discrimination settlement process

The Austin Fire Department’s six-month hiring freeze is not tapering off despite a new hiring proposal. The hiatus was put in place after a ruling was made in September regarding the complaint filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding allegations that the city’s fire department cadet hiring process is discriminatory against African-American and Hispanic people. The freeze is mainly in place so that the city council and the Department of Justice can reach an agreement regarding the settlement to give to the said victims of discrimination.

If the settlement process is rushed, Austin Firefighters Association President Bob Nicks said that the result might not be agreeable to the association, which could result in federal action and a further “three to five years with no hires.”

According to a city spokesperson, an Austin city ordinance requires that 240 firefighters must be employed by the city 24/7.

If you had been treated unfairly by your place of employment in Austin or during the employment process, our legal team at The Melton Law Firm, may be able to help you achieve justice and get compensation for the harm you have suffered. To discuss your situation and options, call (512) 330-0017.

JP Morgan & Chase to pay almost $1.5M to settle sexual harassment lawsuit

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported on Tuesday, February 4 that multinational banking and financial services holding company JP Morgan & Chase will pay a settlement amount of nearly $1.5 million to 16 women who filed sexual harassment claims. The women were all employed in the bank’s call center in its Polaris Park office in Columbus, Ohio.

The lawsuit claimed the women were working in a hostile environment due to “sexist behavior” from the company’s other employees, such as people in supervisory positions and other mortgage bankers. It further alleged that the women were constantly receiving sexually-charged comments and were usually the subject of sexually-charged conversations.

If you are planning to file an employment lawsuit against your co-workers or supervisors in Austin, get in touch with our lawyers at The Melton Law Firm. It is essential that you have a team who is well versed in employment law and has experience handling such cases. Call our offices today at 512-330-0017.

First non-discrimination ordinance complaint filed in San Antonio

Telecommunications corporation AT&T is the first defendant under San Antonio, Texas’s new non-discrimination ordinance, which protects the rights of LGBT employees at the workplace.

According to the non-discrimination ordinance complaint filed on Tuesday, January 7 by openly gay attorney Justin Nichols on behalf of Matthew Hileman, Hileman was fired by the company after reporting a negative conversation that he heard in the office regarding transgender people and after being outed as a transgender individual.

San Antonio City Attorney Robbie Greenblum said an investigation will take place into the case, but also noted that AT&T probably won’t be subjected to a class-C misdemeanor, the highest offense for a city ordinance, nor a $500 fine. However, if worse comes to worst, terminating AT&T’s contract with the city can be considered, Greenblum said.

If you feel that you have been subject to discrimination in the workplace, there are things you can do to take action and stand up for your rights. Contact the Austin team at The Melton Law Firm, by calling (512) 330-0017 to learn more about what we are prepared to do to fight for you.

Spousal benefits provided for same-sex marriages by more than 2/3 of Fortune 500 companies

According to a press release issued on Monday, December 9 by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies and 90% of all large employers are providing health insurance and other benefits to the same-sex partners of their employees. Among the corporations that are extending such benefits for the first time next year are Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Hormel Foods LLC, and Wendy’s International, Inc.

The organization’s 12th annual Corporate Equality Index, which conducts a rating of private companies’ adoption of policies affecting gay and transgender people, showed a record number of businesses incorporating policies that provide protection for discrimination against gay and transgender people in the workplace, including 61% of Fortune 500 companies.

When you are experiencing workplace discrimination in Austin, our lawyers at The Melton Law Firm, can help. We believe that no one should be unduly subjected to such mistreatment and, as such, do our utmost when an employee is treated unfairly. Call us at (512) 330-0017 to talk about your situation and legal options.

Appeals court agrees that businesses can negate class action arbitration by employees

In a 2-1 decision issued Tuesday, December 3, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Fort Worth, Texas-based homebuilder D.R. Horton and declared that the National Labor Relations Board was in violation of the federal law when it tried to hinder the former from making employees sign employee contracts agreeing not to file a class action lawsuit against the company.

Horton started requiring new and existing workers in 2006 to sign a contract saying they are waiving their rights to trial by jury in case of a job-related dispute and are agreeing to settle cases through arbitration.

Michael Cuda and other Horton employees in 2008 filed a complaint with the NLRB, saying that their employer wrongly classified them as exempt employees, that they were denied overtime pay, and that the class action waiver violated the National Labor Relations Act. In 2012, the NLRB ruled that the class action waivers were a violation of the deferral labor law.

The case was monitored by attorneys, headhunter and human resource organizations, and major Texas-based corporations, such as AT&T (telecommunications), J.C. Penney (upscale department stores), and RadioShack (electronic retail stores).

If your rights as an employee have been violated by your employer, get the skilled, experienced, and compassionate attorneys of The Melton Law Firm, to help you. We are dedicated to helping any Austin residents who have been treated unfairly by their employers, so call us today at 512-330-0017 to further discuss your situation and what legal action may be available to you.

NLRB to press charges against Walmart for threatening employees planning to strike

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced on Monday, November 18 that it will hold Walmart Stores, Inc. liable for engaging in unfair business practices against its workers who sought to go on strike last year.

The charges stem from threats allegedly made by Walmart spokesperson David Tovar in a CBS Evening News interview last year wherein he claimed “there would be consequences” for employees who did not report to their shifts in order to strike.

Other charges that were filed by Walmart employees, which had support from the United Food and Commercial Workers, were declared to hold no merit by the labor board. The NLRB dismissed an employee’s complaint that his rights were violated because he was pushed by security hired by the company off of store property. Another dismissed claim was that Walmart was allegedly changing employees’ work schedules as vengeance for the strike.

Approximately 400 Walmart employees participated in last year’s Black Friday strikes, protesting the company’s unfair wages and benefits and conflicting work schedules.

At The Melton Law Firm, our lawyers help Austin employees who have had their labor rights violated by their employers. Call us at (512) 330-0017 to discuss your situation and find out if we can help you.

Texas wage violation complaints continue to increase

The Department of Labor and the Texas Workforce Commission reported that cases of unpaid employee wages in Texas have increased notably in recent years.

Researchers calculate that complaints have doubled to 3,053 in 2012 from 1,558 in 2009. Agencies have also collected data of $13 million in unpaid wages in 2012, a considerably larger amount than the $10 million in unpaid wages reported in 2009.

Texas Workforce Commission spokesperson, Tessa Givens, mentioned that a small fraction of employers in the Texas area are, indeed, not complying with the set wage arrangements.

Austin employment attorney, Mitchell Reichmann, said penalties for not complying with labor codes aren’t consequential enough to significantly affect an employer’s business.

Employees have the right to a healthy work environment, just wages, and protection against discrimination. When these rights are infringed on by co-workers or employers, an experienced attorney might be necessary. If you experience workplace injustice in the Austin area, contact The Melton Law Firm, at (512) 330-0017.

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