Discrimination in the workplace is illegal in Texas and the U.S. An employer may not discriminate against an employee on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability. Texas anti-discrimination laws are similar to federal statutes, although different filing dates apply. On the surface, the federal and state laws against discrimination appear fairly straightforward. If your employer discriminates in a manner that has a negative impact on you as an employee, your employer can be liable to you for compensatory and sometimes punitive damages. But in practice, these laws are extremely complicated to interpret and apply. This is because in many cases the wording of the anti-discrimination statutes is not specific. The courts are divided on how to interpret and enforce the statutes. The law in this area is continually evolving. To understand how the anti-discrimination laws apply to your specific case, and to successfully bring an employment discrimination lawsuit on your behalf, your attorney must have a vast amount of experience in this area of employment law. If you think you have an employment discrimination case you may want to pursue, contact Kilgore & Kilgore for a free review of the facts of your case. Click here to get started Contact Kilgore & Kilgore
Kilgore & Kilgore has a team of employment law attorneys with just such experience in assisting employees with discrimination claims. They live and breathe these laws every day, and are extremely familiar with the federal and state courts and judges who oversee these cases. In fact, Kilgore & Kilgore employment law attorneys have been involved on behalf of employees in several high-profile cases that went beyond the trial court level to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Each case that Kilgore & Kilgore employment attorneys brought regarding a discrimination claim was against a very large, powerful company. These cases included disability, race, and age discrimination lawsuits and involved appellate arguments on some of the most debated issues surrounding the anti-discrimination statutes. The U.S. courts of appeal are where key legal doctrines are often established. Kilgore & Kilgore employment law attorneys have been at the forefront of anti-discrimination law doctrine and interpretation. If you believe you have been harmed in your workplace by discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age or disability, contact Kilgore & Kilgore. Our experienced employment law attorneys will evaluate your situation and advise you on the best way to recover damages and prevent future discrimination.
At the federal level, the anti-discrimination laws include several statutes. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 addresses discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act) addresses discrimination based on a disability. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) addresses discrimination based on age. The Texas state statute covering all these areas of discrimination is the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA), which has been codified in the Texas Labor Code.
Every discrimination lawsuit has several basic elements that must be proved and a “standard of causation” that must be met. One of the elements is that the person bringing the lawsuit must be a “qualified individual” or member of a “protected class,” as defined by the relevant statute. This issue is often straightforward in some types of discrimination, but can be very complex in cases such as disability discrimination. Another element of a discrimination claim is that the employer must have taken an “adverse employment action” or “negative job action,” as defined by the courts while interpreting the statutes, against the person alleging discrimination. And finally, the relevant form of discrimination must meet the “standard of causation” under the relevant statute, which in most cases is derived both from the wording of the statute and the court’s interpretation of that wording.
Kilgore & Kilgore employment law attorneys have argued many cases in front of the Fifth Circuit, which often establishes how anti-discrimination laws must be interpreted and applied in the jurisdiction covering Texas, in each of these key and controversial areas of anti-discrimination law.
For example, in the 2008 case of Pinkerton v. Margaret Spellings, Secretary, U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of Education (Pinkerton), Kilgore & Kilgore employment law attorneys represented a man claiming that his employer, the U.S. Department of Education, had discriminated against him due to a physical disability. The key issue in this case was what causation standard should apply. In every discrimination case, the choice of what standard to apply is extremely important and can determine the outcome of the case. The standards adopted by legislators and courts range from requiring that discrimination be the “sole cause” of the adverse employment action, to requiring that the adverse action would not have happened “but for” the discrimination, to the discrimination being a “motivating” factor in the adverse action. Pinkerton was a case of initial impression in the Fifth Circuit. It involved a complex interpretation of the disability discrimination laws under Sections 501 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. This also brought into play interpretation of the ADA. In the end, the court ruled in favor of Kilgore & Kilgore’s client in determining that the “motivating factor” standard, which is the least stringent standard that courts have applied, was the proper standard.
The 2012 case of Reed v. Neopost USA, Incorporated, in which Kilgore & Kilgore employment lawyers argued an age discrimination case on behalf of their client, also required the Fifth Circuit to determine the proper causation standard. This case was in the context of an age discrimination case filed pursuant to the TCHRA and the ADEA. In a future post, we will focus on how the courts have been divided and evolving in their application of the various causation standards to different anti-discrimination laws.
In another Fifth Circuit Case, Pegram v. Honeywell, Inc., Kilgore & Kilgore employment lawyers represented Pegram against Honeywell. The lawsuit claimed racial and disability discrimination. Kilgore & Kilgore lawyers were in the thick of an argument over what constitutes an “adverse employment action.” Despite the fact that the Fifth Circuit has had a strict and narrow interpretation of the adverse employment element of an intentional discrimination case, Kilgore & Kilgore employment lawyers convinced the appellate court that their client had met that standard despite Honeywell’s protests to the contrary. Recently, the debate within the Fifth Circuit’s jurisdiction about the scope of what constitutes an “adverse employment action” has heated up once again. The outcome is important to anyone who wants to bring a discrimination claim. We will explore this topic in a future post, as well.
Additionally, Kilgore & Kilgore employment lawyers successfully represented another employee with a discrimination claim against a Fortune 100 company in Giles v. General Electric Company. Our client sued GE for disability discrimination under the ADA and the TCHA, and won a judgment at the federal district court level. The powerful GE challenged that judgment in the Fifth Circuit, bringing a myriad of legal arguments to try and win the day. The key and very complex issue was whether Giles was a “qualified individual” under the federal and state statutes. But the Fifth Circuit upheld the judgment and our client won significant compensatory damages and front pay from GE.
The experience that Kilgore & Kilgore employment lawyers have gleaned from these high profile cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is a valuable asset for our future clients. Kilgore & Kilgore’s experience includes not just legal experience in a complicated area of law, but invaluable practical experience and familiarity with the courts and the judges. This helps our clients every day as we bring claims for compensation on behalf of employees against large, medium and small employers in federal and state courts. When it comes to discrimination lawsuits, there really is no substitute for experience. Kilgore & Kilgore employment lawyers have a wealth of such experience at your disposal. To learn more about our employment discrimination law practice, click here Fight Employment Discrimination. You can contact us through our website, click here Contact Kilgore & Kilgore. For a free review of the facts of your case with an employment law attorney, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, call us at (214) 969-9099.
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