Employment Lawyer Dallas
Employment law is a broad umbrella encompassing many different legal practices. Since employers can restrict the rights of potential new hires and current employees in various ways, people seek out an employment lawyer for myriad injustices related to breaches of contract, discrimination, and an unlawful restriction of exercising certain rights. The different protections that are covered will be explained below, along with helpful examples.
The United States labor law was established with the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935, otherwise known as 29 U.S.C. § 151, et seq. This law guarantees certain rights for employees. It has undergone many changes and has been challenged with many suits. However, it still provides protection to employers and employees, encourages collective bargaining, and seeks to limit and prevent abuses in the private sector. The rights that employees are entitled to include:
- Protection from an employer interfering with, forcing, or restricting employees’ rights under the NLRA
- Protection from being refused a job, being fired or discriminated against because of an individual’s non-membership or membership in a union
- Protection of an employer in interfering with the creation and administration of a labor organization
While Texas does not have their own comprehensive labor laws, they do have regulations that offer employees certain rights within the state. These rights affect employees in the private sector.
Below are just some of the practice areas within employment law. If you don’t see the reason listed here, give us a call. The law is very comprehensive, and we can work with you directly about your situation.
While Texas is an “at-will” state, meaning an employer can terminate an employee’s position for practically any reason, there are limitations to this. Some of the terms that are not valid for firing an employee are when the termination is a breach of contract, retaliation, discrimination, refusal to complete work that is against the law.
If you filed a harassment or discrimination complaint, or are assisting in a complaint as a witness, then your employer cannot retaliate by terminating your position with the company. This is considered a protected activity. If you refuse to participate in discriminatory behaviors or actions at your job, then you don’t deserve to be punished for standing up for what you know is right.
There are many situations that qualify as wrongful termination. If you don’t see your reason listed here then contact an attorney to find out more about how to fight your specific case.
Refusal to Participate in Criminal Activity
Employers can’t say they don’t know better. When your employers tell you to do something that you know is illegal, you could potentially be held liable for the action, and possibly face your own criminal liability. You have the right to refuse to conduct the illegal act without termination. However, you cannot sue your employer if you refused and they didn’t terminate your position. You cannot sue them just because they asked.
Violating Your Civil Rights
When you have a sick family member, jury duty, or want to go vote for who you want to be on the school board of your local community, then those are things you have every right to participate in without retaliation from your employer. Unfortunately, some employers will terminate employees for such reasons.
Texas law dictates that employees are allowed paid leave to vote on election days. However, this does not apply if you have more than 2 consecutive hours off during the time polls are open.
You cannot be fired for jury duty. That is an unpaid leave you are allowed to take.
You have the right to return to a position you had before military leave for up to five years. Federal law also prohibits employers from hiring discrimination by refusing to hire veterans.
You are protected by the Family Medical Leave Act to take up to twelve weeks off, without pay, to care for a family member or yourself due to illness. More on the FMLA will be explained later on.
Becoming a parent is a basic function of being a human being, and by now, employers should realize this obvious fact. However, women are still discriminated against for this very normal, natural right they have to have children, and many employers still have this naive bias that pregnancy and employment don’t go together. If you, or your wife, have been terminated from their job, denied a promotion, is being treated differently or facing discrimination, or are forced to stop working or facing radical changes to your work life due to pregnancy, then you need an attorney who will fight for you. There are innumerable women who diligently balance work and motherhood, and you deserve to be able to return to your position after your maternity leave. If not, call an employment attorney to get the justice and job you deserve.
Pregnant women should be given accommodations, as it is obviously much more difficult to perform certain tasks and could be dangerous to their babies if they do them. For example, a woman who was expected to do any lifting or more physically rigorous activity before can be given tasks that allow her to sit as needed. If an employer makes it sound like you’re asking for favorable treatment, then call an attorney.
Fair Wages and Labor in Texas
Texas does not have its own wage labor laws, however, all federal laws do apply to employers and employees. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that determines overtime pay eligibility, sets the minimum wage, and sets child labor restrictions that apply to both part-time and full-time employees in both the private sector and within government positions (local, state, or federal). According to this law, nonexempt workers are to be paid no less than the minimum wage, $7.25 per hour. Additionally, overtime pay must be 1.5 times your regular pay rate if you work over 40 hours during a workweek.
The FLSA also covers what jobs individuals under the age of 18 are allowed to take. Parents can be a tremendous help to their older children as they prepare them for the workforce. For many teens, this is an exciting rite of passage that allows them to practice having some independence. However, parents may have questions about the legality of their child’s work. Children ages 13 or younger are allowed to work as babysitters, professional performers and actors, or deliver newspapers. Teens between the ages of 14 and 15 are allowed to work in grocery and retail stores, movie theaters, amusement parks, restaurants, and offices that will hire them, but the hours they are allowed to work are restricted in how many per week, and only between the hours of 7 am and 7 pm. By the time you are 16, you can work in any non-hazardous job, such as a camp counselor or a paid intern. Again there are restrictions regarding how many hours per week you can work and what hours you are able to work. Parents must be aware of any employer trying to take advantage of a teenager just because they’re young and can be easily intimidated by older managers. When your child turns 18, they can legally work without restrictions up to 40 hours per week.
Family Medical and Leave Act (FMLA)
Most people have heard of FMLA, but when you are in a crisis with a sick family member and need answers, it’s important to understand what rights you have. If you work for a government office or agency, public schools, or at a company with 50 or more employees then you can possibly be eligible for FMLA. This entitles you to take unpaid and protected leave with your group insurance coverage still available to you for up to 12 work weeks during a 12 month period. The qualifying situations are:
- The birth and care of a new child
- Serious health issues and hospitalizations for you or your spouse, children or parents
- Placing or caring for an adopted child
- If you have a qualifying exigency leave if you, the employee, have a child or parent who is on covered active duty or has received orders to covered active duty
It is unlawful for your employer to restrict your rights and to deny your coverage if you have a qualifying FMLA leave. Our attorneys understand that during a difficult time, your priority should be your health or the health of a loved one. There is no job in the world that is worth risking your loved ones, and that’s why we will fight to ensure fair and proper treatment so you can focus on what matters.
The law prohibits discriminating against any potential new hire or current employee based on their race, sex, and national origin. However, if you have faced discrimination, then you must exhaust other administrative remedies before you can file a suit. The law is very specific about this. You must file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before you can file a suit in federal or state court. By not following this process, you risk your case not being heard.
Texas Employment Statistics
In the last few months of 2019, the state of Texas saw a small increase in the civilian labor force, from 14,014 people in June to 14,148 in November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
According to the Texas Workforce Commission’s Texas Wages and Employment Projection, between the years 2016 and 2026 there is projected to be a 16.6% increase in employment across all occupations. The occupations with the highest projected increases are in the following fields:
- Financial management: 29.8%, with annual openings of 3,193 jobs
- Computer and information systems management: 19.1%, with annual openings of 1,855 jobs
- Marketing management: 19.1%, with annual openings of 1,058 jobs
- General and Operations Management: 18.9%, with 17,980 annual job openings
Especially in North Texas, the Texas Workforce Commission’s Texas Wages and Employment Projection projects that there will be a 9.3% increase in jobs by 2026, with the biggest area of growth in medical and health services management, which they expect to grow by 30.1%. However, they also project that the agricultural, wholesale, and retail industries will be the hardest hit and actually see a diminishment in jobs. In agriculture alone they projected that there will be a -7.1% change in employment.
They also reported that for the city of Dallas in 2018 the average wages across all industries were $55,464, with chief executives having the highest salaries at over $200,000, on average.
Why You Need An Employment Lawyer
As mentioned before, employment law is very vast and has a lot of history. Laws can be changed or modified with new rulings, which may affect how employment attorneys practice defending the rights of their clients. An employment lawyer who is a member of professional organizations will not only aggressively fight for you to get the justice you deserve, but they are actively engaged in the field and continue their legal education to best serve their clients in a constantly-changing legal world. Memberships our attorneys hold are the Dallas Bar Association Employment Law Section Board, National Whistleblowers Association, National Employment Lawyers Association, and have been a past chair for the DFW Employment Lawyers Association.
In cases such a wrongful termination, for example, you may be wondering how to present a strong case if you feel you’ve been unjustly terminated, and have to face a major company. This is incredibly daunting to most people. An employment lawyer represents individuals, not companies, and they’re on your side to fight for you. It is harsh and cruel for an employer to meddle with your rights, especially when we all rely on our jobs for the income we need. We offer free consultations over the phone and are ready to listen to you. Call us today so we can help you get the justice you deserve.