“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Discrimination is real.  Denying systemic racism, doesn’t make it nonexistent.  In 2020, we’ve seen a resurgence of people actively fighting against race discrimination in large numbers.  Police violence against Black Americans reignited a fuse.  Protestors have taken their voices to the streets, have launched social media campaigns, and have organized to fight injustice where it thrives with hopes of real change.  

Racial injustices can permeate every aspect of a person’s life.  It can be four Black, young adults being pulled over by the police when they’ve done nothing wrong, only to have an officer say, “where are you coming from” and “can I search your vehicle.”  It may be realizing you are being followed in a department store.  It may be someone saying, “yeah, I have a problem with that Black teacher.” It can even be seen in the hiring, firing, and promotional practices of employers. 

Employment attorneys – working for employees – fight against discrimination every day. Discrimination in the workplace is not limited to race discrimination.  An illogical justification for wage disparities between a man and a woman doesn’t erase sexism.  Failing to train an older worker in the same manner as younger workers doesn’t validate ageist employment practices. Presuming that someone with a disability can’t perform a particular job is disability discrimination.

In employment discrimination cases, the greatest assets a plaintiff can have are witnesses.  Sadly, in many cases witnesses are elusive. For the most part, it is not that they don’t exist, it is that they don’t always come forward.  Do they just not want to give their time to help someone else? Do they really not remember? Did they really not see anything? Is it fear that holds them back?  There are myriad reasons that witnesses will give for not getting involved in another person’s employment dispute.  

In employment cases, getting witnesses to voluntarily cooperate presents its own unique challenge.  Unlike a car accident case, where the witness may be an uninterested pedestrian on the street, in employment discrimination cases the best potential witnesses likely work for the same employer.  The coworker that saw the entire incident still collects a paycheck from the employer, has a mortgage to pay, and children at home.  With that comes a real fear of retaliation. 

If you are a witness to discrimination the law provides remedies when employers retaliate. Our employment lawyers are available for consultations to discuss the law and protections against unlawful retaliation.

Each witness has to decide if they have the courage to speak up when they see discrimination.

When you see discrimination in the workplace, will you speak up? Discrimination in the workplace can touch any employee.  The employer that does nothing about complaints of race discrimination, likely does nothing when there are complaints of age, sex, disability, or religious discrimination.

Change only happens when people speak up and push for it. The greater the numbers the more potential for effectiveness.  However, it must start somewhere.  Silence accomplishes nothing, but it will be remembered by those that knew you could have come forward.

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Photo of Kalandra N. Wheeler Kalandra N. Wheeler

We asked Kalandra N. Wheeler, a Trial Attorney in the Dallas office of Rob Wiley, P.C., to provide her sincere answers to a range of questions.  After reading, you will be more more abreast with the understanding and competency that Ms. Wheeler

We asked Kalandra N. Wheeler, a Trial Attorney in the Dallas office of Rob Wiley, P.C., to provide her sincere answers to a range of questions.  After reading, you will be more more abreast with the understanding and competency that Ms. Wheeler brings.

1.Why did you start practicing labor and employment law?

I wanted to be able to help people that otherwise might not find help. Labor and employment laws affect most of society.  And – whether our results help one or many – our work and efforts as employment lawyers touch people in a real way in their every day lives.

2. Who is your favorite Supreme Court Justice?

Thurgood Marshall.

3. What do you think is the most important part of a good case?

The client. Good facts and evidence are definitely important. But good clients are a lawyers’ most valuable asset.  A good client: (1) is invested in their case; (2) works or worked hard for their employer; (3) can tell their story clearly and concisely; and (4) is someone that a jury will find sympathetic and relatable.

4. If you could write a new law, what would it do?

The Texas Workplace Anti-Bullying law.  I hear the stories, the ones told by employees looking for help. And in far too many of those stories the law offers no solution.  Every employee that goes to work and works hard to do the job they are hired to perform should be able to do so without abuse, harassment, and bullying. There is no justification for bullying, not in our schools, and not in our workplaces.

5. Besides Rob Wiley, P.C., what is the most interesting job that you have had?

For a year before law school, I worked as a lube tech for Jiffy Lube.  I spent hot summer days, working on hot cars, changing oil or flushing transmissions or radiators.  I never had a customer come back with a complaint.

6. How do you market yourself differently than others?

I tell clients what they need to hear, not necessarily what they want to hear. Before a client begins down any path toward resolving an employment dispute, they need thoughtful, honest advice. I am a believer in justice and everyday people deserve competent representation in an arena that is difficult for non-lawyers to navigate.

7. What do you do when you’re not practicing law?

I spend time with family and friends.  I read true crime books.  I sew and draw.

8. How would you describe the color yellow to someone who could not see?

It’s not the intense heat of the sun during the month of August, but instead the softness of the sun on your skin just as the seasons change from Summer to Fall.  It’s warm. And soft to the touch.  It’s fresh squeezed lemonade with a hint of sugar.  Slightly cool, inviting, and happy.

9. What’s your favorite legal TV show?

Law & Order: SVU

10. If you could argue any case in history, what would it be?

The Karen Silkwood case. But really, I think that would be more about arguing and trying a case alongside Gerry Spence for the learning experience.

Kalandra N. Wheeler is a Trial Attorney in the Dallas office of Rob Wiley, P.C.  She graduated from The University of Houston with a bachelor’s degree in political science.  Ms. Wheeler went on and received her law degree from The University of Arkansas.