News and Articles

News and Articles

Texas Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Exxon Twice in Less Than a Month in Employment Cases

In two separate recent decisions, the Texas Supreme Court exonerated Exxon from liability in employment related cases. On May 26, 2017, in Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Rincones, the Court explicitly refused to recognize a theory of compelled self-defamation, stating it is inconsistent with Texas' at-will employment system. On June 23, 2017, in Pagayon v. Exxon Mobil Corp., the Court reversed a $2 million jury verdict against Exxon where a fistfight between two employees led to the death of one of the ... Read more

Federal Court Rules that it is Illegal to Discriminate Based on an Employee’s Sexual Orientation

On April 4, 2017, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana) became the first federal appellate court to rule that sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace is included within the term “sex” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Therefore, it is finally illegal under federal law for employers to discriminate against gays and lesbians... at least in the Seventh Circuit (Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin). For decades, courts have ... Read more

Texas Supreme Court rules that sexual assault is different than sexual harassment

On February 24, 2017, the Texas Supreme Court (in B.C. v. Steak ‘n Shake Operations, Inc.) issued a much-awaited decision, ruling that employees who are sexually assaulted at work by a supervisor can bring a lawsuit immediately against their employer for a common-law assault claim, rather than trying to navigate through the employer-friendly, time-consuming, damages-capped, often futile process of first asserting an administrative claim of harassment with the EEOC or TWC, followed by a difficult ... Read more

Associational Disability Discrimination in Employment

Most employers and employees are aware that the Americans with Disabilities Act prevents discrimination and harassment against employees who have a disability.  However, a lesser known issue is that the law also prevents discrimination against employees (and job applicants) based on their relationship or association with an individual with a disability. See 42 U.S.C. § 12112(b)(4). This is known as associational disability discrimination, and the ramifications are just as severe as directly ... Read more

Trump’s Travel Ban Does NOT Give Employers the Right to Discriminate

Donald Trump’s recent travel ban is causing obviously severe problems for people from certain countries with respect to their travel plans.  The impact is directly related to these individuals’ national origin and religion and, not surprisingly, may create complications with their employers domestically. However, the travel ban is not an employment ban, and it does not change the fact that most employers are still prohibited from discriminating against employees based on various protected ... Read more

Q&A – Handling Harassment at Work in Trump Nation

During the presidential campaign last year, Donald Trump made several statements arguably supporting ridicule or mistreatment of people based on their race, national origin, gender, or disabilities, as well as acknowledging disturbing incidents of sexual harassment. Following his election victory, and now confirmation as president, concerns of yielding to inappropriate harassment in the workplace have understandably arisen. (If it’s ok for the President to do it or say it, then it must be ok for ... Read more

Fifth Circuit allows emotional distress damages in FLSA retaliation claims

On December 19, 2016, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that employees bringing retaliation claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act may recover damages for emotional injury resulting from the retaliation. The damages provision of the FLSA provides the following remedies for retaliation claims: “Any employer who violates the provisions of section 215(a)(3) of this title shall be liable for such legal or equitable relief as may be appropriate to effectuate the purposes of section ... Read more

Federal judge blocks DOL’s new overtime rules

As reported previously, the Department of Labor implemented new overtime rules that were set to take effect on December 1, 2016.  However, on November 22, 2016 a federal judge in the Eastern District of Texas, involving a case filed by several states and various business organizations, granted a nationwide injunction blocking the rule from going into effect. The judge found that the DOL exceeded its authority with the "significant increase to the salary level" threshold to determine whether an ... Read more

What the Trump victory could mean for harassment at work

As recently shown, with the Trump presidential victory, it will not be surprising if there is a significant increase in incidents of employee harassment and discrimination on the basis of disability, sex, religion, and other protected traits in the workplace.  Despite the possible perceived acceptance of such actions based on the results of the election, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, along with other ... Read more

What is wrongful termination or discrimination?

Of the numerous inquiries that come in to Sud Law P.C. where individuals are seeking to sue their former employers for wrongful termination, only a very small number of cases are accepted. Most terminations are not illegal, no matter how upset you may be. A possible wrongful termination or unlawful discrimination claim is limited to only a handful of issues.  Specifically, it is generally illegal for any of the following factors to be a reason for a termination: sex, religion, disability, ... Read more