The following provides a general overview of some of the more common employment laws and is not to be construed as legal advice. There are several exceptions and additional issues related to these laws. It is important to consult with a qualified employment attorney to properly assess your specific situation. The use of this website does not establish an attorney-client relationship and does not create an obligation for Nitin Sud to represent you.
Race, Color, Sex, National Origin, Religion
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, prevents certain employers from discriminating against an individual on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, or religion with respect to hiring, discharge (terminating), compensation, promotion, classification, training, apprenticeship, referral for employment, or other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The law applies to employers with 15 or more employees. Click here to learn more about religious accommodation issues. The Texas Labor Code has similar protections, including prohibitions against age and disability discrimination.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of age against individuals age 40 or older with respect to hiring, discharge, compensation, or other terms of employment. This federal law applies to employers with 20 or more employees; however, the Texas Labor Code only requires 15 employees for age discrimination claims.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals with physical or mental disabilities. The ADA also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to the needs of disabled employees and applicants, as long as the accommodation does not result in undue hardship to the employer’s operations. Furthermore, an individual without disabilities is also protected if the employer wrongly believes the employee has a disability and discriminates against him or her based on that perceived disability. The law applies to employers with 15 or more employees. The Texas Labor Code is nearly identical to the ADA.
Family Medical Leave Act
The FMLA allows certain employees to take unpaid leave for specific family or medical reasons under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave. Generally, covered employees may be entitled to twelve weeks of leave in a one-year period for the following situations, among others: the birth or adoption of a child; to care for a spouse, child, or parent who has a serious health condition; or because of the employee’s own serious health condition. The FMLA applies to employers with at least 50 employees that work within 75 miles of the employee’s work location. Furthermore, an employee is only covered if he has worked for the employer for at least 12 months and worked at least 1,250 during the last 12 months.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is an amendment to Title VII that prohibits sex discrimination because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth.
Equal Pay Act
The Equal Pay Act (EPA) requires equal pay for equal work performed by employees of either sex working in the same establishment. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex with respect to wages paid for equal work on jobs that require the same skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions.
Title VII, the ADEA, and ADA, and the Texas Labor Code prohibit employers from retaliating against employees for making employment discrimination claims, assisting others in filing such claims, and for otherwise opposing illegal employment practices. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) also prevents retaliation against employees who file claims under the Act or otherwise make overtime or other wage-and-hour related allegations. Similarly, employees cannot be retaliated against for seeking or taking leave under the FMLA. The retaliation provisions do not require the employee to have to prevail on their underlying claim, only that the claim was made in good faith.
Texas Public Policy Wrongful Termination (Sabine Pilot)
Although Texas is an at-will employment state, there is one common law exception to this rule. Specifically, an employer cannot fire an employee for the sole reason of refusing to perform an illegal act.
Wage and Hour (Fair Labor Standards Act)
The Fair Labor Standards Act was created in the 1930s to help the United States get out of the Great Depression, at a time when our country had about a 20% unemployment rate. Although we have come a long way since then, and despite most businesses’ good intentions, many employers are in fact technically not in compliance with the FLSA (a Department of Labor study found that 70% of employers are violating the FLSA). Furthermore, owners of small businesses can be personally liable for FLSA violations.
Mr. Sud has extensive experience defending FLSA claims on behalf of a variety of employers – from large corporations to very small businesses. He can provide an expedited evaluation of an FLSA lawsuit or investigation in order to determine the best strategy for efficiently handling the matter.
Mr. Sud also represents individuals with respect to FLSA claims against their current or former employers. These include cases involving misclassification of exemption status, off-the-clock work, and other wage and overtime matters.
Covenants Not to Compete (Non-Compete Agreements)
Under Texas law, non-compete agreements may be enforced only if they contain reasonable limitations with respect to geography, time, and scope of activity to be prohibited and only if they are “ancillary to or part of an otherwise enforceable agreement.” This definition is frequently debated in courts. Every situation is unique and the outcome will likely depend on a variety of factors. Mr. Sud frequently counsels employees and employers on the handling of non-compete matters. He also litigates these cases when necessary, including situations where urgent court intervention is needed via a termporary restraining order or temporary injunction.