Have you ever wondered why management, ownership and human resources punish the victim instead of the perpetrator?
The labor and employment lawyers at Hutchison & Stoy stand up to wrongdoings in the workplace and champion the victims of employees who have bared the wrongs of their at-fault employers.
We specialize in all types of labor and employment law, some of which include workplace discrimination, harassment, and healthcare whistleblower protection.
Warriors for Justice: Your Labor & Employment Allies
In a perfect world, every worker would feel safe at work, and no one would suffer from discrimination or injustice while carrying out their job duties. Since this is not always the case, it’s essential for employees to have legal allies to help them assert their workplace rights and to protect them against unprincipled employers who don’t have their best interests at heart.
The circumstances in which workers can find themselves facing unfair or discriminatory labor practices from their employers are plenty. From unpaid wages to inappropriate sexual advances, employer retaliation and more, the list of injustices in the workplace goes on and on. These injustices can have severe long-term consequences on an employee’s health, safety, and economic status. These are serious matters and require serious and committed legal counsel.
When it’s serious, call Hutchison & Stoy.
Given the unequal power dynamic between employers and employees, and the fact that workers may not be aware of the protections afforded to them under the law, having an experienced labor lawyer by your side can make all the difference.
The employment and labor lawyers at Hutchison & Stoy handle all types of labor cases, and our team has helped many individuals just like you win verdicts and settlements against their employers. If you suspect wrongdoing in your place of employment, we are here to help. More often than not, time is of the essence, so please contact us today to begin your case review.
Major Areas of Labor and Employment Litigation
Employment and labor law encompasses a wide range of issues. Our practice includes these major areas of labor and employment litigation:
- Sexual Harassment
- Fair Pay and Fair Labor Standards Act Violations
- Breach of Contract
- Governmental Employment/Whistleblower
We know that labor and employment litigation is an uphill battle and getting started can feel overwhelming. Texas is a right to work state, meaning you have essentially no right to work. The employer can terminate you at will with very few exceptions. Do you know the deadlines and these exceptions? Please continue reading for a detailed overview of what each of our areas of practice entails. We encourage you to visit each area’s corresponding webpage for further information.
Under Texas and federal law, discrimination based on age, race, gender, disability, or religion is illegal. Doing so creates unfair working conditions and can cause emotional and financial hardship for the individual discriminated against. Employment discrimination law protects employees under the following categories:
- Age Discrimination
- Race Discrimination
- Gender Discrimination
- Disability Discrimination and Failure to Accommodate a Disability
- National Origin Discrimination
- Religion Discrimination
- Sexual Orientation Discrimination
- Pregnancy Discrimination
Discrimination can take on many forms. Though employers know that it’s illegal, workplace discrimination is still surprisingly widespread. Some common examples include:
- Refusing to hire older candidates
- Giving a promotion to a less-qualified male candidate instead of a female candidate with more significant experience
- Passing up candidates based on their skin color, age or gender
- Not hiring women applicants of child-bearing age
- Not making accommodations to employ disabled individuals when doing so would not cause the employer undue hardship
- Failure to promote or terminating a person based upon gender identity.
While these cases can be challenging to prove, and beginning the filing process as soon as possible is often critical, our qualified Hutchison & Stoy discrimination and defamation lawyers are well equipped to help you if you’ve suffered from workplace discrimination.
Employment retaliation is when an employer punishes an employee who has reported some type of employment law violating. In Texas, retaliation can occur in any of the following ways:
- Discrimination and Harassment Retaliation
- Fair Pay/Fair Labor Standards Act Violations Retaliation
- Leave Retaliation
- Workers’ Compensation Retaliation
- Termination for Refusing to Perform an Illegal Act
Even though workers are protected from employment retaliation, employees still find ways to punish them. Some examples include:
- Assigning the worker to less desirable shifts or shifts that cause conflicts with family duties
- Reducing the worker’s hours
- Lowering the employee’s salary
- Excluding the worker from company-wide activities
- Firing the worker
If you’ve reported or have opposed employer discrimination in the workplace and are experiencing retaliation because of it, retaining a labor attorney is the most effective way to file a credible retaliation discrimination complaint. The window for filing claims in these cases is short, so don’t waste time if you suspect you’re the victim of retaliation.
Employers are responsible for ensuring a safe workplace for all employees. Fostering values of respect, decency, and collegiality are one critical part of creating a safe space in the workplace. When employers place a high emphasis on these ideals, it’s more difficult for employees to experience harassment.
Harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct based on race, color, religion, sex, origin, age, or disability that creates a hostile and abusive work environment. Harassment comes in many shapes and sizes, and some examples include:
- Making unwelcome comments about a worker’s appearance or body
- Using racial slurs or epithets
- Making physical threats
- Using insults or put-downs
Sexual harassment is a subset of harassment that includes unwanted and unwelcome sexual advances, suggestive comments intended to solicit sexual favors, and other sexual related actions, gestures, or verbiage. A sexual harassment lawyer can help you if you’ve been the victim of this type of harassment.
Some examples of sexual harassment include:
- Making unwanted sexual jokes or advances to a worker
- Inappropriate touching
- Requesting sexual favors
- Spreading rumors about a person’s sex life
You don’t have to be a direct target of workplace harassment to suffer from the hostile and abusive environment that accompanies this type of conduct. It’s essential to retain legal counsel if you’ve reported harassment and your employer fails to address it.
Employers have a legal duty to provide “reasonable accommodations” for disabled workers as long as doing so does not cause the employer undue hardship. These accommodations allow individuals with disabilities not just equal employment opportunities, but also the ability to carry out their responsibilities as others without disabilities would.
Under Title 1 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), there are three aspects of reasonable accommodations as they relate to employment:
- Ensuring equal opportunity throughout the application process
- Ensuring the disabled individual can complete the necessary job functions
- Ensuring equal opportunities and benefits for disabled individuals
While there are no firm guidelines that specifically outline what employers are responsible for, we can look to some examples of accommodations employers would be expected to make for disabled individuals, which include:
- Modifying job schedules so a worker can receive medical treatment
- Hiring short term specialists to aid in training
- Carrying out changes to workplace facilities that allow the disabled employee to use them, such as providing or adjusting products, equipment, or software
- Providing reserved parking
- Modifying job tasks
Discrimination based on disability is prohibited under both federal law and Texas law, and you should retain counsel if you think your rights have been violated. The Warriors for Justice are well versed in cases involving disability accommodation and can help you file a claim.
FLSA and Overtime Claims
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act outlines provisions governing fair wage and overtime pay in Texas. Employers must adhere to the standards established in the FLSA, which include rules regarding federal minimum wage, overtime pay, hours worked, recordkeeping, and child labor.
Most jobs are governed by the FLSA, but not all are, and some positions are governed by FLSA, but exempt from FLSA’s overtime rules. When an employer attempts to have an employee work for free or for pay that’s unfair, they may be in violation of the law. FLSA and Fair Pay Violations can happen under the following circumstances:
Employees are entitled to compensation for the work they perform for their employers. An FLSA overtime attorney is your best recourse if you suspect wrongdoing on the part of your employer.
Qualified employees are allowed up to twelve weeks of unpaid family, parental, and medical leave under the federal government’s Family and Medical Leave Act. Maternity leave is covered under FMLA, as well. FMLA prevents employers from penalizing or threatening employees with the loss of their job should they take leave.
Because employers have different obligations depending on factors like whether or not they are a public or private firm and the number of employees in the company, it can be challenging to ascertain how much leave, if any, you are entitled to.
Taking unpaid leave generally happens due to stressful situations, and dealing with an employer that’s pushing back can cause even more strain. It’s critical that employees understand how much leave the law entitles them to under FMLA.
If you suspect your FMLA rights have been violated, you may want to consider hiring an FMLA lawyer to evaluate your case. A Hutchison & Stoy FMLA attorney can answer questions regarding your FMLA rights and assess whether they have been violated.
Maternity Leave and Paternity Leave
Taking maternity leave and paternity leave is a fundamental right that allows for the proper care of a newborn baby, or the adoption of a child under three years old. Both state and federal laws may require that your employer allow you to take leave without fear of losing your job.
No parent should ever face consequences at work for taking critical time to spend with their newborn. If you have questions or concerns about your right to take maternity leave or paternity leave or feel you have been wrongfully terminated for exercising your right to leave, a pregnancy lawyer can help address your concerns.
Healthcare Whistleblower Protection
Being a healthcare provider can be both physically and mentally taxing, as it requires professionals to work tirelessly to provide the very best care under what are often incredibly stressful situations.
This already tricky field becomes even more complicated when healthcare providers need to address situations with their employers that are unethical or dangerous for patients or the general public—and fear retaliation for doing so.
Raising concerns at work, more commonly known as whistleblowing, involves employees reporting a concern about wrongdoing by their employer. These concerns tend to include things that the employee perceives to be illegal, fraudulent, or unsafe, among other things. Some examples include:
- Improper administration of medicine
- Unsafe patient care
- Unsuitable working conditions
- Improperly trained staff members
Because whistleblowing can be intimidating and isolating for the employee, as well as carry negative consequences for that individual, both federal and Texas laws protect healthcare whistleblowers against retaliation.
If you are a whistleblower facing retaliation at work, you need a specialized healthcare whistleblower retaliation attorney. Cases involving healthcare whistleblowing are complex and require extensive experience, and our team of attorneys at Hutchison & Stoy has the skill necessary to guide you through the litigation process.
Our Labor and Employment Lawyers Are Here to Help
The Warriors for Justice at Hutchison & Stoy have successfully sought restitution for dozens of clients. Our case results speak for themselves: we’ve tried at least one hundred cases to verdict and have helped our clients receive money for damages in all kinds of labor and employment cases.
Our staff is made up of a diverse group of experienced attorneys who are ready to review your case and champion your cause. See what our clients have to say about Hutchison & Stoy, and don’t hesitate to contact us for a free case evaluation. The sooner you reach out, the sooner you can get the justice you deserve.
And if after reading about our specialties in labor and employment law, you aren’t able to find the information you’re looking for, we still recommend contacting us for a free case consultation. Sometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint the specific area of law that concerns you, which is why we will provide you with supplementary information should you need it.
Labor and Employment Law Links
In addition to reading the material on our website and reaching out to us, we recommend that you can consult the following websites for additional information:
Violations of the Law are Serious
We take your rights as an employee seriously. Making a claim of discrimination is serious business. But it is not as serious as suffering from discrimination in the workplace.
We take your allegations seriously, we take you seriously and we give serious effort to apply the law in advocacy of your right to be protected and free from such discrimination. When you suffer from discrimination in the workplace, you are not as productive, you do not feel safe and you are often distracted and on guard.
These are serious consequences you are suffering. When it’s serious, call Hutchison & Stoy.