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Houston Employment Law Blog

Veterans seek protection from hiring discrimination

Obtaining employment in Texas is often difficult for veterans who have been discharged from the military for relatively minor offenses. A human rights commission in Connecticut warned employers in the state that they may be breaking anti-discrimination laws by actively selecting against this group of veterans. Members of the commission hope to spread the word about this type of discrimination to bigger employers throughout the nation.

Veterans groups believe that less-than-honorably discharged service members are part of a protected class because they are disproportionately black, Latino, gay and disabled. Furthermore, these veterans have been discharged administratively and never had the opportunity to go to court. Their offenses, which are often described as "bad paper" by veterans, can include everything from minor fighting and drug use to tardiness and issues related to PTSD.

Filtering tools could discriminate against older workers

If companies in Texas and throughout the country use social media to target younger job seekers, that could be a form of age discrimination. According to a claim by the Communications Workers of America (CWA), older workers missed out on job opportunities because they were not shown ads for those positions. Companies such as Amazon and T-Mobile were said to make use of Facebook's filtering tools to exclude older job seekers.

In an amended filing, Facebook is said to filter advertisements by age to fill its own positions. However, Facebook is not a defendant in the case. It is believed that hundreds of companies not named in the complaint make use of filtering tools when advertising available job opportunities. A complaint was filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in January, but the organization did not confirm that this was accurate.

Disability claims and employer obligations under ERISA

Disability insurance can be a great benefit. When you’ve become disabled and your ability to work changes, it can help make ends meet so that you’re still able to feed your family.

Ideally, your employer and your employer-provided insurance plan should work with your disability insurance so that your medical needs are covered as well.

Women continue to face workplace discrimination

Despite the media attention paid to the #MeToo movement and sexual harassment on the job, many people may expect that women in the Houston area have few concerns about gender discrimination on the job. However, regardless of industry, workplace discrimination remains a serious problem, not only for women in high-profile industries like entertainment and politics, but for women in jobs of all types. One survey showed that while there have been some significant advances secured by women in the workplace, other factors have remained serious problems that have shown little improvement since 1999.

Positive factors in the survey results included the fact that nearly half of the women respondents now outearn their husbands, a major advance over the results from 1999. In addition, women have made significant inroads into traditionally male-dominated industries. For example, the software, IT, trucking and STEM fields have seen double- and triple-digit increases in the percentage of women in the field. However, other workplace discrimination issues continue to pose major problems for even these higher-earning and high-achieving women.

AT&T Mobility sued by two former employees

AT&T Mobility is one of many companies in Texas and throughout the country that uses a "no-fault" policy when it comes to attendance. Essentially, employees are given points for being late, leaving early or being absent from work on a given day. If an employee gets too many points, the company may decide to terminate that person. Two former employees say that the system used by AT&T Mobility was discriminatory.

The two women filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. They claim that they were terminated because of issues related to their pregnancy. One of the plaintiffs claimed that she had to take time off for nausea and other pregnancy-related issues after October 2014. She had her child in June 2015 and was terminated after returning in July 2015 because of absences that occurred while pregnant.

The gender pay gap is no small matter for small businesses

The gender pay gap isn’t a new issue by any means. The number varies, but the significant gap between salaries continues to exist in many occupations.

It would seem that the gender pay issue would be something only larger corporations get accused of. Larger corporations appear to have a lot of layers and the experience to hide pay disparities. But large corporations aren’t necessarily the biggest violator when it comes to pay disparity.

Tips for pushing back against age discrimination

While both men and women in Texas and throughout the country deal with age discrimination, women may be more likely to be impacted by it. This is because physical appearance may matter more for females than male workers, and getting older may make a woman seem less attractive. Although there may be little people can do about their looks, there are ways that older workers can add value in the workplace.

First, older workers are encouraged to ask about high profile assignments or other opportunities to advance. In some cases, they may assume that a company wants a younger person to do the job, which means that workers could deny themselves a chance to showcase their skills. Individuals are also encouraged to seek out a professional network that includes people of all age groups. Doing so could help to get rid of stereotypes and teach others the value of wisdom and experience in the workplace.

Disability insurance: 3 FAQ’s on Short-term vs. long-term coverage

Insurance is a complicated subject. No matter what the type, trying to figure out what’s covered and what isn’t can be confusing. Disability insurance is no exception.

Between short-term and long-term coverage, it can be difficult to figure out which covers what, when you’ll get paid and how long those payments will last.

Employers should consider harassment a breach of trust

Sexual harassment can be a problem for companies throughout Texas and the rest of the nation. At Nike, women have raised complaints about managers who have called employees names or made comments about their breasts. A survey was conducted that eventually made its way to the CEO and resulted in the resignation of six executives. One of the reasons why the harassment at Nike occurred was that most of the incidents are referred to as hard cases.

These are cases in which actions seem to indicate harassment but don't actually rise to that level under the law. To meet the legal standard, the actions must be severe or frequent enough in nature that they create a hostile working environment. Some have said that this standard is too high, and companies have decided to offer additional protections as part of their anti-harassment policy. However, prior to the #MeToo movement, companies were reluctant to act.

Macy's to pay $75,000 to settle ADA discrimination case

Individuals with disabilities in Texas and around the country face enormous challenges. Federal law prohibits workplace discrimination based on disability and requires employers to take reasonable steps to accommodate workers with disabilities, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the federal agency tasked with holding employers responsible when these laws are violated. A recent case dealing with these issues involved the Ohio-based retailer Macy's.

The EEOC became involved when a long-term Macy's worker who suffers from asthma filed a complaint after losing her job. The woman claimed that the retailer chose to fire her rather than allow her to take a day off to address an emergency health issue. The subsequent EEOC lawsuit accused Macy's of violating the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing to make a reasonable accommodation for a worker covered by the landmark 1990 law.

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