Bill Hommel has over 32 years of experience representing victims of discrimination and fighting for workers’ rights. The Hommel Law Firm has represented victims of discrimination or workplace abuse in courts throughout the State of Texas. Mr. Hommel has tried over 100 cases to juries in state and federal courts. He is also the only East Texas attorney certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in the field of Labor and Employment who exclusively represents workers.
The Hommel Law Firm has handled hundreds of cases involving:
Sexual Harassment – Hostile Work Environment
The Federal and Texas law prohibits sexual harassment as a form of gender discrimination. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal or physical harassment that is sexual in nature or because of gender.
The law generally prohibits employers from discriminating against job applicants and employees because of their age.
Equal Pay Discrimination
The Equal Pay Act requires employers to pay its employees roughly the same pay for the same work regardless of their gender. Unfortunately female workers make 80% of what comparable males are paid for the same work.
The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Texas Labor Code prohibits employers from discriminating against job applicants and employees because of a disability. In addition, the law requires employers to provide disabled employees with reasonable accommodations that enable them to work.
Family Medical Leave
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires employers to provide unpaid leave under certain circumstances. Basically, a company that employs at least 50 workers must provide twelve weeks of leave for workers who suffer from a serious medical condition or have responsibility to care for a parent or child who suffers from a serious medical condition. A worker must be employed for a least a year with the company to have right to leave under the FMLA.
All employees, regardless of gender, should be treated equally. Texas and Federal law prohibit discrimination against workers on the basis of their gender.
The law prohibits employers from discriminating against job applicants and employees because of their race, ethnicity, color, or national origin. Texas and Federal law prohibit discrimination against workers on the basis of their race.
Members of the military have important rights that prevent employers from taking adverse action against them for serving their country. Members of the military are entitled to be returned to their position after their deployment or service.
The law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees because of their religious beliefs or lack thereof. Religious beliefs include those required by a religion, atheism, agnosticism, as well as some other beliefs that are strongly and sincerely held by individuals.
The law protects workers from being treated unfairly because of pregnancy or childbirth.
A Federal Law called The Workers Adjustment Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act) requires 60 days’ notice to employees being laid off. The Hommel Law Firm has handles several WARN Act cases.
The EEO laws prohibit punishing job applicants or employees for asserting their rights to be free from employment discrimination including harassment. Asserting these EEO rights is called “protected activity,” and it can take many forms. For example, it is unlawful to retaliate against applicants or employees for:
- filing or being a witness in an EEO charge, complaint, investigation, or lawsuit
- communicating with a supervisor or manager about employment discrimination, including harassment
- answering questions during an employer investigation of alleged harassment
- refusing to follow orders that would result in discrimination
- resisting sexual advances, or intervening to protect others
- requesting accommodation of a disability or for a religious practice
- asking managers or co-workers about salary information to uncover potentially discriminatory wages.
Participating in a complaint process is protected from retaliation under all circumstances. Other acts to oppose discrimination are protected as long as the employee was acting on a reasonable belief that something in the workplace may violate EEO laws, even if he or she did not use legal terminology to describe it.
Engaging in EEO activity, however, does not shield an employee from all discipline or discharge. Employers are free to discipline or terminate workers if motivated by non-retaliatory and non-discriminatory reasons that would otherwise result in such consequences. However, an employer is not allowed to do anything in response to EEO activity that would discourage someone from resisting or complaining about future discrimination.
For example, depending on the facts, it could be retaliation if an employer acts because of the employee’s EEO activity to:
- reprimand the employee or give a performance evaluation that is lower than it should be;
- transfer the employee to a less desirable position;
- engage in verbal or physical abuse;
- threaten to make, or actually make reports to authorities (such as reporting immigration status or contacting the police);
- increase scrutiny;
- spread false rumors, treat a family member negatively (for example, cancel a contract with the person’s spouse); or
- make the person’s work more difficult (for example, punishing an employee for an EEO complaint by purposefully changing his work schedule to conflict with family responsibilities).
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