“Bring Your Child To Work Day” Debacle Results In Employees Suing – And Winning – For Retaliation

In E.E.O.C. v. EmCare, Inc., 857 F.3d 678 (5th Cir. 2017), the Fifth Circuit affirmed a jury verdict finding that an employer had illgally retaliated against its employee for complaining about sexual harassment.

McKinney, a CEO of an EmCare division, repeatedly sexually harassed women at work. Trahan (a male) and others complained to EmCare about it, but nothing was done. On “Bring Your Child to Work Day,” McKinney told an employee that ”there is no way [her daughter] is 15 with breasts like that.” The employee and two others, including Trahan, complained. Six weeks later all three of the employees who complained were fired. The EEOC sued, and all three prevailed at trial. EmCare appealed only as to Trahan, claiming that the decisionmaker who allegedly decided to fire him, the divisional COO, had no knowledge of any of Trahan’s complaints about McKinney, so he could not have fired Trahan because of his complaints.

The Fifth Circuit affirmed the judgment. It noted that McKinney and the divisional COO were executives in the same division; there was evidence McKinney knew about Trahan’s complaints; and evidence that McKinney discussed Trahan’s performance and termination with the divisional COO. The Fifth Circuit found that from all this evidence, a reasonable jury could have logically inferred that McKinney told the divisional COO about Trahan’s complaints.

Alternatively, there was substantial evidence that EmCare’s HR VP knew about Trahan’s complaints, and that she orchestrated and participated in the decision to fire him. Thus, even if the divisional COO did not know about Trahan’s complaints, there was sufficient evidence that the HR VP did, and that she was also a decisionmaker, which would independently be enough to hold EmCare liable.

This case illustrates the reality that where employers fire employees very shortly after they make legitimate complaints of sexual harassment, lawsuits for retaliation often follow. And, unless the employer can clearly and convincingly demonstrate that it had a solid, non-retaliatory reason for firing the employee, or that the decisionmaker absolutely did not know about his or her complaints, juries often find that retaliation occurred. The case also teaches that when the facts are as bad as they were here, the court of appeals may also understandably take a dim view of the employer’s appeal from a losing jury verdict.

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Posted in At Will Employment, EEOC, Harassment, Houston Employment Law, Houston Retaliation Law

Fifth Circuit Decision Shows That Just Because The EEOC Found In The Plaintiff’s Favor Does Not Mean That The Plaintiff Has A Winning Case In Court

In Alkhawaldeh v. Dow Chem. Co., 851 F.3d 422 (5th Cir. 2017), the Fifth Circuit affirmed a summary judgment ruling against the plaintiff in a retaliation case, despite the fact that the EEOC had previously found that the employer had retaliated against him.

In October 2009, Alkhawaldeh, a Muslim employee of Dow Chemical Company, was given a 1 rating (out of 5) and placed on a PIP. In November 2009, he reported alleged anti-Arab discrimination to HR. In April 2010, he filed an EEOC Charge. In July 2010, he was transferred to a new supervisor. On October 30, 2010, he was fired for alleged poor performance, insubordination, and general incompetence. He sued for retaliation under Title VII. He relied in part on the fact that the EEOC had issued a Letter of Determination (“LOD”) that Dow had retaliated against him.

The district court granted summary judgment for Dow, and the Fifth Circuit affirmed. It found that, unlike an EEOC investigative report, which a district court must consider, an EEOC LOD could be “freely ignored.”

It also concluded that the pre-November 2009 poor rating and PIP substantially undercut Alkhawaldeh’s retaliation claim. In addition, the court found it compelling that Alkhawaldeh’s performance was viewed as poor by two separate supervisors and a committee Dow convened to evaluate his performance. Finally, the Court emphasized the “high burden” of the “but for” causation standard in Title VII retaliation cases, and found that Alkhawaldeh had not met it.

This case demonstrates that just because the EEOC issues a favorable LOD to the employee, does not mean the employee’s claims will hold up in court.

Posted in At Will Employment, EEOC, Houston Retaliation Law, Whistleblower

Court Holds That Once An Employer Acts With An Illegal, Retaliatory Motive Against An Employee, The Employee’s Mildly Inappropriate Response Is Not Sufficient To Remove The Taint Of Illegal Retaliation

In Fisher v. Lufkin Industries, __ F.3d __, No. 15-40428, 2017 WL 562444 (5th Cir., Feb. 10, 2017), the African-American plaintiff, Fisher, complained to Lufkin’s VP of HR that his supervisor referred to him as “boy,” which he regarded as racist. HR investigated, and determined that the supervisor used the word “boy,” but not in a racist way. About a month later, a white coworker of Fisher’s went to management and told them that he did not like the fact that Fisher had reported his supervisor for using the word “boy.” The coworker claimed Fisher sold pornographic DVDs from his lunch box at work, and offered to orchestrate a sting operation to prove it. The company agreed, and Fisher was indeed caught selling pornographic DVDs at work. After he was caught, Fisher did not allow the company to search his car, claiming that he had to leave immediately because his wife called him and told him she was ill and needed him. A week later he was fired for an alleged “serious violation of company policies.”

Fisher sued for retaliation under Title VII. The district court held a bench trial. The trial judge found that Lufkin had retaliated against Fisher for his complaint about his supervisor using the word “boy,” but that Fisher’s own misconduct in refusing to cooperate with the company in its investigation, and lying about his wife being ill, broke the causal chain, and, therefore, his termination was lawful. Fisher appealed.

On February 10, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed the district court. The Fifth Circuit agreed with the district court that the evidence demonstrated that the company sought to entrap Fisher in retaliation for his protected activity (complaining about his supervisor’s use of the word boy). The Fifth Circuit also agreed with the district court that selling pornography at work to other employees who wanted to buy it was not a terminable offense at Lufkin, and actually did not appear to even be a violation of any company policy. As such, the court agreed with the district court that Lufkin had targeted Fisher for termination because of his protected activity — which is classic illegal retaliation.

The court disagreed with the district court’s finding that Fisher’s own misconduct in refusing to cooperate with the company in its investigation, and lying, broke the causal chain, and, therefore, his termination was lawful. The court found that finding simply “implausible” given the record evidence. Furthermore, the court observed that, “to shield employers from liability for adverse actions taken in response to such resistance would be to incentivize supervisors motivated by retaliatory animus to initiate groundless investigations with the purpose of causing the targeted employees to resist them, thereby leading to the employer’s adverse actions. We decline to provide such an incentive.” Id. at *5 n.8.

Over the years, retaliation claims have generally fared better with the U.S. Supreme Court and the Fifth Circuit than other types of employment claims. This case is yet another example. While it is a very fact-specific case, it does indicate that once an employer is shown to have acted with retaliatory animus, the plaintiff has significant leeway before a court will conclude that something he or she did removes the retaliatory taint and exonerates the employer from liability.

Posted in Discrimination, Houston Employment Law, Houston Retaliation Law, Retaliation

Fifth Circuit Holds That Employee’s Failure to Provide Doctor’s Note Confirming Reason for Absence Dooms His Claims Under The Americans with Disabilities Act

Mark Oberti writes:

Sometimes, employees ask for time off from work because of medical issues. In those situations, the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) may protect them from being terminated because of the time they take off from work. However, if an employer asks for medical proof to substantiate the need for time off, and the employee does not provide it, then there is a very good chance the ADA will not protect the employee if they are terminated for taking the time off from work. This was the situation in the recent case of Delaval v. PTech Drilling Tubulars, LLC, __ F.3d __, No. 15-20471, 2016 WL 3031069 (5th Cir. May 26, 2016).

Danny Delaval was given permission to take time off work from his job at PTech to get some medical testing. After he completed the testing, he sent his employer and e-mail to know he was “cancer free,” but had been diagnosed with kidney stones and an enlarged spleen. Delaval said he would be back to work soon. The owner of his employer told him to follow his doctor’s orders and keep them informed. A week later, Delaval returned to work. His employer asked him for medical documentation to demonstrate that he had been undergoing medical testing or treatment while he was out. Delaval did not provide any. At that point, he was fired for allegedly “failing to show up at work for more than three consecutive days without notifying a supervisor.” Delaval sued for failure to accommodate and disability discrimination under the ADA. The district court dismissed his claims on summary judgment, and Delaval appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision.

As to Delaval’s failure to accommodate claim under the ADA, the Court found that Delaval’s request for time off for medical testing, and then treatment, was a request for a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. However, the Court observed that the law permits employers to demand medical proof of the medical need for time off as a condition of granting a reasonable accommodation. That is what PTech did in this case. Yet, Delaval never provided any such proof, so he was terminated. The Court held that his termination was legal, because it was Delaval’s own fault that he failed to provide the medical documentation that PTech was within its rights to ask for. As to Delaval’s disability discrimination claim under the ADA, the Court found that there was not sufficient evidence that PTech’s given reason for his termination was a pretext for disability discrimination. Delaval argued that PTech’s given reason for his termination — “failing to show up at work for more than three consecutive days without notifying a supervisor” — was false because he had e-mailed the owner while he was out, and thus had notified a supervisor. The Court agreed that was some evidence that PTech’s given reason for termination was false, but that was still not sufficient evidence of disability discrimination. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the district court’s decision to dismiss Delaval’s entire case.

Posted in ADA, At Will Employment, Disability, EEOC, Houston Employment Law, Human Resources

Fifth Circuit Holds That Employees Interviewed As Part Of A Sexual Harassment Investigation Have Greater Protection From Retaliation

Mark Oberti writes:

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which covers Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana, affirmed that an employee interviewed as part of a company’s internal investigation into sex harassment complaints is protected from retaliation under Title VII. In EEOC v. Rite Way Service, Inc., No. 15-60380 (5th Cir. Apr. 8, 2016), an employee named Ms. Tennort reportedly “observed two interactions between [supervisor] Harris and another general cleaner, [Ms.] Quarles, that troubled her. The first involved Harris pretending to smack Quarles’s bottom and saying, ‘ooh wee.'” The second was when Harris said he “could tell what was in Quarles’s pants pocket and stated that ‘somebody must be looking real hard at [Quarles’s] behind,'” supposedly adding for emphasis that “I’m a man, I’m gonna look.”

In response to her employer’s request, Tennort submitted a written report about the second incident. That week, Harris was transferred away, but the school replaced Harris with his brother-in-law. After that, “[o]ver the next five weeks, she [Tennort] received two written warnings and up to two oral warnings for poor job performance Her alleged infractions included not properly cleaning areas assigned to her, tardiness, and insubordination. These warnings were the first that Tennort had received since beginning her employment with Rite Way in 2009.”

Ms. Tennort was fired for alleged “neglect of duty,” about a month after filing her witness statement. The EEOC sued Rite Way on her behalf, claiming that her termination was in retaliation for her report, and violated Title VII’s prohibition against retaliation.

The district court concluded as a matter of law that “that Tennort did not engage in protected conduct under Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision,” and granted summary judgment for the employer. On appeal, however, the Fifth Circuit reversed, and sent the case back to the district court for a jury trial.
Title VII’s opposition clause in section 704(a), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a), requires opposition of a practice made unlawful by Title VII (“he has opposed any practice made an unlawful employment practice by this subchapter”). Thus, courts have generally required that the employee had an objectively reasonable belief that the practice “opposed” was illegal. Courts have not generally considered, though, the situation where the party “opposing” the practice was a third-party witness to an event, responding passively to an employer’s request for information. That was the case here.

The Fifth Circuit concluded that the “reasonable belief” standard applies equally to persons cooperating in an investigation. The EEOC argued based on Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee, 555 U.S. 271 (2009), that it was enough that the employee “opposed” conduct “by responding to someone else’s question.” The Court rejected that argument, stating that “creating a lower threshold for reactive plaintiffs bringing retaliation claims would be at odds with Crawford’s reasoning that the language of the opposition clause does not permit courts to treat reactive opposition any differently than proactive opposition.”

Notwithstanding its refusal to budge from the “reasonable belief” standard, the Court still reversed summary judgment. Even if the one incident the claimant witnessed would not by itself constitute harassment as a legal matter, the circumstances might tilt into gray-zone “reasonable belief” – at least enough to allow a jury to decide it. “She heard Harris tell Quarles that he was looking at and admiring her rear end … [T]his was conduct directed at a specific fellow employee. That it came from a person in a supervisory position is another important consideration.” The earlier near-slap is also “relevant to how she assessed the seriousness of Harris’s later comment that he was ‘gonna look’ at Quarles’s rear end because he was a man.”

Finally, Tennort’s belief was informed by a pamphlet furnished by the employer that “sexual harassment” – including “unwelcomed sexual . . . comments” and “other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature” – should be reported. In sum, “If Tennort had not yet reached a view that Harris violated federal employment law when he made offensive comments and gestures about Quarles’s rear end, the circumstances surrounding her questioning may very well have caused her to do so.” Thus, the Court found that Tennort had a reasonable belief that what she reported was actually sexual harassment that violated Title VII, and so the district court’s summary judgment was reversed and the case sent back to the district court for a jury trial on the question of whether Tennort had been fired because of her report.

This decision was written by Judge Gregory Costa.

Posted in Discrimination, EEOC, Houston Employment Law, Houston Retaliation Law, Retaliation, Whistleblower

Employee Loses Retaliation Claim Based On Coworker’s Use Of The Phrase “Heil Hitler”

Some employees think that any workplace complaints over inappropriate conduct or statements are protected from retaliation — meaning that the employer cannot retaliate against them for making such complaints. But, the law is actually far different, as illustrated by a recent case decided the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which covers Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

In Satterwhite v. City of Houston, 602 Fed.Appx. 585 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 136 S. Ct. 87 (2015), the plaintiff, an employee for the City of Houston, reported his co-worker for allegedly using the phrase “Heil Hitler” during a meeting. The co-worker later became the Plaintiff’s supervisor, and subsequently allegedly recommended that the plaintiff be demoted. The City ultimately agreed with the demotion. Following his demotion, the plaintiff brought an unlawful retaliation claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He alleged that he was demoted in retaliation for reporting his co-worker for using the phrase “Heil Hitler” at the meeting.

The district court granted summary judgment for the City, finding that the plaintiff had failed to show that he was actually demoted because of his complaint. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed this decision, but not for the same reason as the district court. Instead, the Fifth Circuit determined that the plaintiff’s reporting of his co-worker did not even rise to the level “protected activity.” For employees to be protected from retaliation by Title VII, they must objectively “reasonably believe” that the conduct they report violates Title VII. As a result, for the plaintiff’s report of his co-worker to have constituted protected activity, the plaintiff had to reasonably believe that a single “Heil Hitler” created a hostile work environment in violation of Title VII. The Fifth Circuit determined that no reasonable employee could have held such a belief, and therefore Title VII’s anti-retaliation provisions did not protect the plaintiff. In other words, even if the plaintiff was demoted in retaliation for his complaint against his co-worker, it would not be illegal under Title VII. The court accordingly affirmed summary judgment for the City. The plaintiff sought review of the Fifth Circuit’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, but his request was denied in late 2015.

This case teaches that not all complaints about inappropriate conduct or statements in the workplace are protected from retaliation — even a statement as vile and repulsive as “Heil Hitler.”

Posted in EEOC, Houston Retaliation Law, Retaliation

EEOC Takes Aggressive Positions On Homosexual Rights In The Workplace Under Title VII

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) sometimes announces its position on legal issues under Title VII. While the EEOC’s pronouncements are not binding on courts, they often have consequences on employers anyway because the EEOC is the government agency that decides whether or not an employee’s Charge of Discrimination with the agency has merit. Also, sometimes, courts give some degree of deference to the EEOC’s views. Recently, the EEOC made an announcements concerning its view of the law under Title VII concerning gay rights that merits attention from employers and employees.

Specifically, the Commission took the position that a claim of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation necessarily states a claim of discrimination on the basis of sex under Title VII, and is thus illegal. To prove its point, on March 1, 2016, the EEOC announced that it has filed its first two sex discrimination cases based on sexual orientation. The EEOC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania against Scott Medical Health Center, and, in a separate suit, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, against Pallet Companies, dba IFCO Systems NA.

In its suit against Scott Medical Health Center, EEOC charged that a gay male employee was subjected to harassment because of his sexual orientation. The agency said that the male employee’s manager repeatedly referred to him using various anti-gay epithets and made other highly offensive comments about his sexuality and sex life. When the employee complained to the clinic director, the director responded that the manager was “just doing his job,” and refused to take any action to stop the harassment, according to the suit. After enduring weeks of such comments by his manager, the employee quit rather than endure further harassment.

In its suit against IFCO Systems, EEOC charged that a lesbian employee was harassed by her supervisor because of her sexual orientation. Her supervisor made numerous comments to her regarding her sexual orientation and appearance, such as “I want to turn you back into a woman” and “You would look good in a dress,” according to the suit. At one point, the supervisor blew a kiss at her and circled his tongue at her in a suggestive manner, EEOC alleged. The employee complained to management and called the employee hotline about the harassment. IFCO fired the female employee just a few days later in retaliation for making the complaints, EEOC charged.

The EEOC’s General Counsel, David Lopez, stated, “[w]ith the filing of these two suits, the EEOC is continuing to solidify its commitment to ensuring that individuals are not discriminated against in workplaces because of their sexual orientation.” Mr. Lopez further remarked that, “ [w]hile some federal courts have begun to recognize this right under Title VII, it is critical that all courts do so.”

Since Title VII was passed in 1964 many federal courts have held that discrimination based on sexual orientation is not prohibited by Title VII. Accordingly, these two new cases are novel and will test out the EEOC’s recently announced position that, contrary to decades of case law holding otherwise, Title VII really does prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Posted in Discrimination, Dodd Frank, Houston Employment Law

Fifth Circuit Holds That A Manager’s Threat To Reduce An Employee’s Pay In Retaliation For the Employee’s Hiring Of A Transgendered Employee Was Not An Adverse Employment Action That The Threatened Employee Could Sue Over

In a case decided in December 2015, Brandon v. Sage Corp., 808 F.3d 266, 270 (5th Cir. 2015), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit addressed a retaliation claim brought by the plaintiff Brandon, the former Director of the San Antonio Campus of Sage’s truck driving school. The plaintiff had hired a transgendered employee. According to the Plaintiff’s allegations, when the defendant’s National Project Director, Regional Director for the Western United States, and School Director for the Billings, Montana site (Ms. Campanian), found out, she asked Brandon if she was “stupid,” and threatened to cut the plaintiff’s pay by 50% as a means of disciplining her for hiring the transgendered employee. Ms. Campanian was also a stockholder and part-owner of Sage, but she was not a supervisor of the plaintiff. Nevertheless, the plaintiff claimed to be fearful of Ms. Campanian’s threats against her and she resigned after she tried, but was unable to get ahold of Sage’s President, who was traveling at the time. The Plaintiff then sued Sage, claiming that Ms. Campanian’s threat to cut her pay by 50% constituted actionable retaliation in violation of Title VII.

The district court dismissed the plaintiff’s case, and — despite urgings to the contrary from lawyers with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — the Fifth Circuit affirmed that decision. The Fifth Circuit observed that in a retaliation case “a plaintiff must show that a reasonable employee would have found the challenged action materially adverse, which … means it well might have dissuaded a reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of discrimination.” Burlington N. & Santa Fe Ry. v. White, 548 U.S. 53, 68 (2006). Under this standard, the Court held that no reasonable person would have found Ms. Campanian’s threat sufficient to dissuade them from making or supporting a charge of discrimination because Ms. Campanian was not Brandon’s direct supervisor. Rather, the plaintiff reported directly to Sage’s President. As the Court stated: “[a] reasonable employee in [the plaintiff’s] position would have been familiar with the company’s chain of command, the company’s grievance process, and who had the last word on final tangible employment decisions. Therefore, a reasonable high placed employee would not have been dissuaded from engaging in protected activity as a result of threats or actions by someone outside her chain of command and who she knew had no final decision-making authority.”

This case demonstrates that not all threatening or bad acts by an employer’s managers will suffice to support a retaliation claim. Rather, each situation must be analyzed on its own facts. This case also illustrates that employees who do not diligently and rigorously follow their employer’s chain of command to make complaints about abusive or retaliatory conduct often lose in court.

Posted in EEOC, Houston Retaliation Law, Retaliation, Uncategorized

New Fifth Circuit ADA Decision Illustrates The Pro-employee Impact Of The Amendments Congress Passed To The ADA

In 2011, Jacobs Field Services North America, Inc. offered Michael Cannon, a mechanical engineer with 20 years’ experience, a field engineer position at a Colorado mining site.

But very shortly thereafter, Jacobs rescinded the offer after learning Cannon had a rotator cuff impairment that prevented him from lifting his right arm above the shoulder. As a result, Cannon sued Jacobs under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).

A federal district court judge in Houston threw out Cannon’s case on summary judgment, holding that Cannon couldn’t show a “disability” under the ADA or prove he was a “qualified individual.”

In January 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed the district court judge’s decision, and ruled that Cannon had sufficient proved his case so as to justify a jury trial. Cannon v. Jacobs Servs. N.A., Inc., No. 15–20127, 2016 WL 157983, ___ F.3d ___ (5th Cir. Jan. 13, 2016).

The Fifth Circuit held that the district court judge erred in holding that Cannot was not “disabled” under the ADA, because the judge failed to consider the ADA post-amendments that took effect before Jacobs rescinded Cannon’s job offer. Those amendments made it much easier for an employee to demonstrate that they suffered from a “disability” as defined by the ADA. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s regulations interpreting the amended ADA state that whether an individual’s impairment “substantially limits” a major life activity “should not demand extensive analysis.” Cannon produced “ample evidence” to show he was substantially limited in lifting and reaching, which the amended ADA and EEOC regulations identify as major life activities, the appeals court said. Thus, based on the amendments, and Cannon’s proof, there was enough evidence to support a finding that he had a “disability” as defined by the ADA.

The Fifth Circuit found that the district court had also erred in holding that Cannon was not “qualified” for the job. Jacobs asserted Cannon was unable to perform essential job functions, but the court said the “record is thin” given the speed with which the company rescinded its job offer. Jacobs argued Cannon’s condition, and the medication he was taking, prevented him from driving and climbing ladders, two essential job functions. But Cannon’s evidence, which included doctor’s reports that he was being weaned off the pain medication, and a video demonstrating he could safely climb ladders, raised a jury issue as to whether he was “otherwise qualified” for the job, the court said. Consequently, the Fifth Circuit remanded the case for trial.

This case demonstrates that the ADA’s amendments make it much easier for a plaintiff to establish a “disability” under the ADA. The case also points teaches that employers must carefully evaluate whether an employee’s medical impairment renders them unqualified for a job, rather than make rash judgements based on incomplete information.

Posted in Disability, Discrimination, EEOC, Houston Employment Law, Human Resources

Five Questions That Individual Employees Should Ask Before Hiring A Houston Employment Lawyer

Hopefully you will never need an employment lawyer in Houston. Luckily, there are many great Houston employment lawyers, and they work at firms all over the city. Some of them rank highly on Google search results, and others do not. Take your time and search thoroughly; do your research; and find someone who is the right fit for you and your case.

Here are questions we think you should ask before you select an employment lawyer in Houston:

1. Is the lawyer Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Specialization, or does the lawyer devote a significant portion of his or her practice to employment law in Houston? Do not be afraid to ask potential lawyers how many years he or she has practiced as an employment lawyer and how many employment law cases he or she has handled. Such questions can be important in gauging the experience of your potential lawyers.

2. Has the Houston employment attorney actually tried and won big cases in front of juries and on appeal? Ask the lawyer how many trials and appeals he or she has “first chaired,” and what the results were in those trials. Results matter. If your case is going to trial, it makes sense to have a real trial lawyer representing your interests.

3. Is the lawyer asking you to pay money before he or she will take your employment law case? If so, for what purpose and does that purpose make sense to you? There are legitimate reasons a lawyer may ask you for money. Unfortunately, some lawyers ask for money for the wrong reasons. Before you turn over your hard earned money, you need to feel comfortable that doing so is both necessary and will positively advance your case.

4. Does your Houston employment attorney speak or write frequently before other employment lawyers? Such speaking and writing can suggest knowledge about the subject matter and visibility in the community.

5. Did the lawyer hint or outright tell you to lie to make your case stronger? Lying is wrong, and liars get caught. Lawyers who encourage this behavior are acting unethically and do not have your best interests at heart. Your case is not as important as your integrity.

Posted in Houston Employment Law, Houston Executive Lawyer, Houston Retaliation Law