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Houston Employment Law Blog

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.

Texas pay disparity even bigger for Hispanic women

Keeping up with your male counterparts is difficult in the face of wage discrimination. It is even harder to keep up if you are a Latina living in the state of Texas. Nationally, Latina women make, on average, 54 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn. In Texas, it is even less. Hispanic women in Texas make only about 44 cents on the dollar compared to men.

When we are talking about cents on the dollar, it is easy to lose track of the impact this has on Latina women. But over the course of a year, it really adds up. In order to be able to work, many Latina women also need to pay for childcare. Bridging the wage gap would mean more leftover after paying for daycare expenses.

Workers with disabilities often confront discrimination

Many Houston workers with disabilities face disadvantageous conditions on the job. Over 54 million people across the United States have a disability, but people with serious disabilities who work full time earn $1,000 less each month on average than workers without disabilities. Another 13.3 million people of working age are unemployed or have experienced difficulty securing employment due to their disabilities; they have a 70 percent unemployment rate.

Disability discrimination is prohibited by law. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has a mandate to monitor disability discrimination as well as workplace discrimination on the basis of sex, race, age, religion, national origin and other protected factors. In 2017, the EEOC said that discrimination complaints based on disability numbered 26,838. This means that nearly 32 percent of all discrimination complaints received by the agency concerned workplace mistreatment on the basis of disability. The EEOC reported that 5,540 of these complaints about disability discrimination were successfully resolved in favor of the complainant, with $135.2 million in monetary benefits for the victims.

Cheerleader claims discrimination by former employer

Employers in Texas and throughout the nation must generally refrain from treating workers differently based on their religion, gender or other protected attributes. A former Miami Dolphins cheerleader claims that the team did treat her differently based on her religious beliefs. She also alleged that the cheerleaders were treated differently than the players in a variety of ways. The woman was a member of the team's cheerleading squad for three years ending in 2017.

In a compliant filed with the Florida Commission on Human Relations, she claims that she was asked about a social media post featuring her being baptized. Furthermore, cheerleading team officials allegedly asked her to stop talking about the fact that she was a virgin. The woman's lawyer is currently representing a former New Orleans Saints cheerleader who filed a similar complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

CA teacher triumphs in fight against discriminatory pay practices

For many workers, their experience and education will not be the determining factor in how much they will make. In fact, their credentials could be entirely irrelevant in the salary that they will be offered. How can that be?

Here’s a look at how employers have been legally permitted to offer qualified employees lessor salaries solely based on their pay history.

5 FAQs on the gender pay gap in Texas

The federal Equal Pay Act (EPA) has been on the books since 1963. It says men and women are supposed to receive equal pay when they work in substantially equal jobs in the same establishment.

Over a half-century later, however, there's still a big gap between how much men and women are paid.

How big is this gap in Texas and what legal rights do women have under the EPA to challenge unequal pay? In this post, we'll use a Q & A format to address this question.

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Warren & Siurek, L.L.P.
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