Labor and Employment Law
Protecting Houston Employers and Employees Involved in Workplace Conflicts and Disputes
The relationship between employer and employee is a complicated one governed by a broad range of legal rights and obligations. When disagreements surface and the employer-employee relationship breaks down, the workplace can turn into a very difficult and unproductive environment. The Houston labor and employment law attorneys at Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP understand the turmoil and challenges associated with employment-related disputes. Our lawyers are seasoned litigators with decades of collective experience working with clients to resolve conflicts in the workplace. Whether we are representing an employer or an employee, we focus on aggressively protecting our client’s interests at every stage of the process.
Handling a Broad Scope of Employment Law Cases
The legal team at our firm has the expertise to represent employers and employees in both routine and more sophisticated employment-related disputes. We combine comprehensive knowledge of federal and state employment laws with extensive litigation experience to help our clients address a wide range of workplace issues, including matters involving:
From hiring through employment, employees have the right to a workplace free of harassment and discrimination. Federal laws protect employees from job discrimination based on national origin, race, gender, age, and disability, just to name a few. The U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces many of these laws and many employees and small business lack the experience it takes to navigate the web of anti-discrimination laws or deal with federal enforcement agencies. At Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP, our Houston labor and employment law attorneys have the experience to help, whether you are an employer facing a discrimination claim or employee affected by discrimination in the workplace
Many employers provide benefits for their employees, which are not required by law but that help to supplement wages or salaries. Many of these benefits are regulated by rules in the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), other federal statutes, and Texas state regulations. If your employer has threated to terminate your benefits or you are an employer needing to terminate certain employee benefits, attorneys at Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP can help you determine your rights under the law.
Employees are permitted leaves of absence from work in the event of the sudden illness of a family member, medical emergency, the birth of a child or adoption, among other things. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects this right and generally provides eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a given year. Employers cannot deny an employee their FMLA time if they qualify and have unused FMLA time. If your business needs help understanding its rights and obligations under the FMLA, the attorneys at Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP can help you understand the requirements of the law. If your employer is delaying or denying your FMLA request or if they have retaliated against you for taking or requesting FMLA time, the attorneys at Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP can help you protect your rights and seek fair compensation.
If you are a union worker or a union employer, you may face unique labor law issues including collective bargaining and negotiations, organizing activities in the event of an unsuccessful bargaining agreement, and proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). These and other labor issues present serious problems for individuals and employees and resolving administrative proceedings requires deep knowledge of the process. If you are facing labor issues as a union worker or a union employer, the Houston labor and employment law attorneys at Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP can represent your interests in negotiations and walk you through the process of administrative proceedings.
The State of Texas protects the rights of employees to work in a free and open market but it also protects employers from having trade secrets or know-how stolen by past employees. That’s why Covenants Not to Compete (Non-Competes) are so prevalent in employment contracts. When these agreements are overly broad in the area they cover or last an unreasonable time, employers and employees find themselves with Non-Compete agreements in violation of Texas law. If you are a business drafting Non-Compete agreements as part of your hiring process or are an individual whose Non-Compete is affecting your ability to work, the Houston labor and employment law attorneys at Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP can help analyze your contract and get you moving forward
Unpaid Wages & Overtime Law
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay the wages and overtime due to their employees. Employers may refuse to pay their employees for a number of reasons: they don’t understand the FLSA, they are purposefully mischaracterizing employees as exempt from overtime, or they simply ignore their obligation to pay. Interpreting your rights and obligations under the FLSA is complicated and requires deep understanding of the rules. If your business is facing a claim under the FLSA, the attorneys at Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP can guarantee vigorous representation. For employees, if your employer is stealing overtime from you, the attorneys at Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP can analyze your case and make sure you receive the fair pay you deserve as per overtime law.
Sexual Harassment Law
Sexual harassment is illegal sexual discrimination in the workplace and it takes many forms: unwelcome sexual advances, unwanted physical contact, lewd communications of any kind, requests for sexual favors or retaliation for refusal of sexual favors, and stalking behavior, among other behaviors. Despite nearly 40 years of education and awareness, sexual harassment is still a common occurrence in the workplace. For employers facing sexual harassment claims, Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP can defend you and your employees throughout the process from mediation, settlement, and into litigation. If you have received unwanted advances, contact, or communications, the attorneys at Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP will help you file a discrimination complaint and recover the damages you suffered.
New laws and regulations are providing ever-more protections for whistleblowers, especially when employers retaliate. Government agencies including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Labor have responded with increased enforcement of whistleblower laws and higher rewards and penalties than ever. Employees are in the unique position to expose employer wage and hour violations and discrimination in hiring practices. If you have acted as a corporate or workplace whistleblower or if your business has been affected by leaking, the attorneys at Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP can protect you and hold you the right people accountable.
Wrongful Termination Law
In Texas, unless you have a contract stating otherwise, employment is at-will. Employers may terminate at-will employees for any reason, even if it is an arbitrary reason. However, employers may not terminate at-will employees because of discrimination based race, gender national origin, age, disability, gender, or other protected categories. If you have been fired for any of these reasons or as retaliation for any claim you may have brought for workers compensation, sexual harassment, or wage and hour claims, the attorneys at Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP can help you get your job back and the damages you suffered due to wrongful termination. In the event your business is facing allegations of wrongful termination, Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP will work through the process of vindicating your business and its management and reducing liability wherever possible.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Charges
Charges and complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) involve investigations and mediations with your employer or employee over any discrimination suffered in the workplace. Mediations favor employers because employers can make any offer they want, often leaving the employee faced with a tough choice: continue an expensive resolution process or accept an unfair deal. As an employer, if you are facing an EEOC complaint, the Houston labor and employment law attorneys at Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP can represent you in front of the EEOC, throughout the investigation and mediation process. If you are considering an EEOC complaint, Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP can help you from tailoring your EEOC charges so that your rights remain intact if you need to file a lawsuit to assessing an employer’s offer to make sure it is the deal you deserve.
Employees are entitled to a discrimination-free workplace and when employees exercise that right, employers cannot retaliate in any way. Employers may not alter an employee’s employment status for refusing to take part in illegal activities, exercising your rights to leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), acted as a whistleblower, or refusing unwanted sexual advances in the workplace. If your employee has brought a claim of retaliation, Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP can tackle any EEOC complaint and zealously defend your business against any private suit. As an employee, if your employer has changed your employment status or retaliated against you because you suffered discrimination in the workplace, the attorneys at Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP will help you with an EEOC complaint or private suit to get you fair compensation.
Companies are not required to provide severance packages to employees but employers may offer them for a number of reasons. For example, employers may offer severance packages to distract from discriminatory motivations in firing an employee. Whether you have offered a severance package or have been offered a severance package, there are two things to remember: severance packages are often negotiable and you should weigh your other legal options to redress the underlying discrimination. At Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP, attorneys will help you weigh those options and negotiate your severance agreement to your greatest benefit.
Like many states, Texas is a “right-to-work” state where employees are free to choose whether to join a labor union. Employers cannot deny employment to an employee or discriminate against an employee based on membership to a union. If you have been pressured to join a union or have been the victim of discrimination or retaliation because of your membership in a union, you are protected under the law. If you are facing a discrimination claim from a union employee or non-union employee, you have rights and deserve a robust defense. Attorneys at Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP can determine if you have a case against your employer and protect your rights to join or not join a union-type organization.
If you suffer from a disabling condition and are no longer able to work, you may be entitled to disability benefits. Social Security benefits are for those who cannot work due to their condition whether it is a short-term or long-term disability. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) also provides disability benefits for those who are left with a disabling condition as a result of their service. Both Social Security and VA benefits are denied at an alarming rate of up to 60% of first-time benefit claims. If your disability benefits have been denied, the attorneys at Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP can appeal your disability claim and make sure you receive the benefits you deserve.
Focused on Achieving Optimal Outcomes for Our Clients
At Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP our objective is to help employers and employees solve workplace problems quickly and cost-effectively. We are recognized as a smart and powerful team of legal professionals committed to achieving the best outcomes possible for our clients. When you work with our firm, a labor or employment attorney will carefully review your situation to identify all legal avenues that may be available to you. We will work one-on-one with you to evaluate each option so that you can choose the path that is best aligned with your individual goals and objectives.
In many cases, our Houston labor and employment law attorneys are able to successfully resolve employment-related conflicts and disputes well before they enter the courtroom. We are savvy negotiators capable of getting our clients the results they are looking for even in the most challenging situations. Our team is also highly experienced in using alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods to resolve all types of workplace conflicts and disputes. This means that regardless of whether your case involves a discrimination claim, a disagreement involving a non-compete arrangement, wrongful termination or any other employment-related matter, you can be confident that we will diligently protect your interests throughout the course of the proceedings.
When an employment dispute cannot be settled at the negotiation table or in mediation or arbitration, we are fully prepared to see the case through trial and any appeals that may follow. Our lawyers are advanced trial attorneys who provide top-level representation in every case that we take on. Additionally, because the attorneys in our practice represent both employers and employees, we understand where both sides are coming from and can anticipate and counteract the legal strategies opposing counsel is likely to use before a judge or jury.
Contact a Houston Labor and Employment Law Attorney to Discuss Your Employment Law Matters
At Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP we offer comprehensive legal services and unique fee arrangements tailored to our clients’ individual needs and circumstances. Call our experienced labor and employment attorneys today at 713-526-0200 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.