Kalandra Wheeler
Texas Employment Lawyer Kalandra Wheeler

When it comes to employment in the state of Texas, it is governed by the doctrine of at-will employment. This means that for many employment disputes, employees will have no recourse. There are occasions when businesses hire or promote bad employees into supervisory or management positions. There are occasions when supervisors and management fail to enforce or follow company policies. However, it would be impossible for courts to monitor and dictate all of the daily operations of each and every company nor does the law allow it. What the courts are allowed to do is hear and protect the rights that are actually given to employees under various laws when an employer has engaged in unlawful conduct.  What is unfair, unprofessional, or unethical conduct does not always equal unlawful.  

Where the law fails to protect employees, it is important for companies to have human resources departments to enforce policies and to ensure fairness. Where the law fails to protect employees, smart business operations make it essential for companies to have strong leadership in place willing to do the right thing. This is not because the law dictates, because it often does not, but because good business practices, professionalism, ethics, and the desire to retain good and hardworking employees should be motivation enough.  

Yet, what happens to employees when companies don’t make smart business decisions and throw professionalism and ethics out the window?  At-will employment means there may be no law that stops employers from making bad decisions that affect their employees and businesses.  At-will employment may mean that hardworking employees may have no legal claims to pursue if they are wrongfully terminated. Nevertheless, at-will employment also means that hardworking employees have the right to leave when they have endured all they can tolerate.  Employees have the right to take their talents to employers that will value them.

Sometimes it can be difficult for an employee to decide what to do when their working conditions have become untenable. They may have confusing feelings or lingering questions.  It could be a manager that treats them differently and holds them to different or impossible standards. Is this treatment based on some discriminatory reason or is it a situation where the company has made a poor hiring or promotional decision?  An employee may voice a complaint to human resources and feel they are facing retaliation after having made that complaint. Did the employee engage in legally protected conduct or did the employee make a complaint that’s not protected under the law?

When an employee has lingering questions about their treatment at work and is deciding what their next step should be – staying to fight or walking away – they often want to know and understand their rights.  When an employee has questions, our employment attorneys are available for consultation.  

A consultation with an attorney does not ensure that a legal claim follows. However, a consultation with a qualified employment attorney affords an employee an opportunity to discuss their concerns when they are: (1) feeling that something is not right at work and that they are being treated differently for some reason or another; (2) wanting to know how to properly voice their complaints to their employer; (3) when they are concerned about obligations they may have after quitting; or (5) wanting to know if there is a battle to fight with their employer or should they find something better and simply walk away.

Navigating employment law and employee rights can be difficult.  An early consultation may help an employee prepare and protect their rights.  An early consultation may even help an employee before they do something that jeopardizes any legal claims they may have. If the law does not provide protections, a consultation may help an employee make decisions about continuing their employment or taking their very valuable skills elsewhere.  

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Photo of Kalandra N. Wheeler Kalandra N. Wheeler

We asked Kalandra N. Wheeler, a Trial Attorney in the Houston office of Wiley Wheeler, 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 Houston office of Wiley Wheeler, 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 Houston office of Wiley Wheeler, 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.