- ↓Severance agreements
Most companies use them now as a way to avoid lawsuits. You should contact our firm to review your severance agreement because of our vast experience in this area and because the proposed agreement itself recommends that you have an attorney review it. Only an attorney can explain what rights you are waiving by signing the agreement.
- Employment discrimination based on race, national origin, gender, disability, age, and sincere religious beliefs
This is the heart and soul of employment law. This firm can advise you on which laws have been violated by your employer, which courts to use, what evidence you need to prove your case and what damages are supported by your facts and evidence.
- Retaliation for participation in a protected activity, such as making a complaint about a violation of law
The state whistleblower law requires that the employee prove that there is an actual violation of state law. The federal law of retaliation for participating in a protected activity does not have this requirement. An example of a protected activity is to complain to management that you believe you are being discriminated against because of your race, national origin, color, sex, disability, age, or religion.
- Retaliation for complaining about or reporting an environmental violation by your company
As long as the employee acting with an honest belief that a violation of an environmental law occurred, the courts will uphold the claim even though it turns out that there was no actual violation of law. This law is so important in Louisiana that if a violation is proven, the employee is entitled to triple damages for the first 3 years of his or her damages.
- Failure to accommodate employees with disabilities or with sincere religious beliefs
Under the ADA, if you are a person with a disability, the company has an obligation to provide you an accommodation so that you can perform your job. This accommodation must be reasonable and cannot be an undue burden on the company. The company also has an obligation to engage in the interactive process to determine a reasonable accommodation for you.
Under Title VII, a company must provide a reasonable accommodation for a person with sincere religious beliefs. For example, a person who has a sincere belief that he or she should not work on the Sabbath, must be accommodated by his or her employer in scheduling as long as it does not cause an undue hardship on the employer.
- Sexual harassment
The sexual harassment must be severe or pervasive. It is easier to prove sexual harassment if it was perpetrated by a supervisor and the employee suffered an adverse employment action, such as being fired or demoted. Same sex sexual harassment has been recognized by the United States Supreme Court.
- Family and Medical Leave Act violations
The employer must not interfere with the employee exercising his or her rights under the FMLA. The employee may qualify for intermittent FMLA leave, which does cover tardy occurrences if the occurrences are caused by the employee’s serious illness.
- Wrongful termination
This is actually a misunderstood term. It should be called illegal termination. Because of the employment at will doctrine, it is legal for an employer to fire an employee for no reason or a wrong reason. However, the employer cannot fire an employee for a reason that violates state or federal law.
- Employment contracts and noncompete agreements
This firm specializes in reviewing employment contracts and noncompete agreements. For example, many physician contracts in this area contain a provision that it may be cancelled with a 90-day notice, even though it appears to be a contract for a longer term. Noncompete agreements must comply with Louisiana’s strict non-compete agreement statute.
- Representation in mediations and arbitrations
There are occasions for mediation, arbitration and litigation. This firm has experience in representing employees in all three means of dispute resolution and in appeals to the courts of appeal. Although arbitration is not favored by employees as a substitute for jury trials, most arbitration clauses have been upheld by the courts when challenged.
- Unlawful Harassment at the workplace
Harassment is only illegal if an employee is harassed because of his or her protected class, such as race, national origin, sex, age, disability, age, and religion. If a supervisor harasses all employees equally, this harassment, although it is wrong, is not illegal.
- Wage and hour law violations including failure to pay overtime
All hourly full-time employees are entitled to be paid time and a half for all hours over 40 worked in a workweek. If the employer automatically deducts 30 minutes for a lunchbreak, it must give the employee that time to eat lunch without also requiring some work during that time.
- Equal Pay Act violations. Employers must pay equal pay for equal work, regardless of sex
The Equal Pay Act (EPA) protects individuals of all sexes. All forms of compensation are covered, including salary, overtime pay, bonuses, life insurance, vacation and holiday pay, cleaning or gasoline allowances, hotel accommodations, reimbursement for travel expenses, and benefits. If there is an inequality in wages between people of different sexes who perform substantially equal jobs, employers must raise wages to equalize pay but may not reduce the wages of other individuals.
The courts have held that to prevail in an EPA claim, the employees of different sexes must have substantially the same experience, education, performance evaluations, and disciplinary records.
- Unfair labor practices by the employer
The employer cannot interfere with employees’ right to organize themselves into a union. There are many other unfair labor practices that are prohibited by law. For example, failure of a new employer to recognize and bargain with the existing union representative when a majority of employees were retained by the new employer; failure of company to bargain in good faith; postponing negotiations on CBA until union withdraws union’s unfair labor charges against company.
- Breach of the duty of fair representation by the union
The union must treat all of its union members fairly. A union may not treat a union member in a manner that is arbitrary, discriminatory, or in bad faith. A union need not take up every grievance or take every grievance to arbitration, nor must the union seek judicial review of an award unfavorable to the employee or judicial enforcement of a favorable award. In all such cases, the unions decision not to act must be in good faith. A considerable discretion is vested in the union, both in its dealings with management and its dealings with individual union members.
The duty of fair representation is breached where the union induces the employer to discriminate against an employee on the basis of arbitrary classification such as race or citizenship. Unions may not determine membership solely on the basis of sex. Unions may not discriminate against non-union employees, for example making an example of a non-union employee to encourage other non-union employees to join the union. The union may not act solely out of political expediency. Also, the union may not handle grievances or other duties in reckless disregard of an employee's rights, or in a manner that is determined to be gross negligence.