Kalandra Wheeler
Texas Employment Lawyer Kalandra Wheeler

We are in the midst of the holiday season. As the holidays roll by, businesses everywhere are having their year-end holiday parties. Millions of people everywhere are going to restaurants, bars, and banquet halls to mix and mingle, to celebrate victories, and to close out the year. With these celebrations, often times there’s alcohol being served and consumed.

Some people dread the holiday office parties: the socializing, the drinking, and dancing.  Others love the holiday office parties: the socializing, the drinking, and dancing. No matter the camp in which an employee resides, it is the hope that employees are attending these parties responsibly. After all, the holiday office party is still a work event.  

The office party is not a place for employees to forget the rules against unlawful discrimination and harassment. The office party is not a free-for-all.  It is not “Vegas Baby,” where “everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” Instead, the aftermath of an office holiday party gone wrong can come with significant consequences, giving new meaning to “out with old, in with the new” in 2023.  

A bad holiday party when exiting 2022, can mean holiday party liability when entering 2023.

Some people handle their liquor well.  They drink responsibly. Others may not do so well with spirits. They may overindulge leading them to behave in ways they should not when they are around their coworkers.  Employers take this risk when gathering large groups of people.  Risks are multiplied when those large groups are provided alcohol.  Controlling employee behavior amongst a smaller group of employees may be much simpler and less risky that an event where hundreds of employees are in attendance.  

Employees should know that whether it is in the office or outside the office, they should not be made to suffer unlawful discrimination or harassment. 

The holiday party may be a time where some employees start speaking about religious beliefs and practices. An employee or group of employees may then erroneously think it is okay to criticize someone else’s religious beliefs or treat another employee differently because of their religion. 

The holiday party and alcohol may give an employee courage to say every discriminatory thing they’ve thought about other races, religions, women, or a subordinate to whom they secretly didn’t want to provide a reasonable accommodation for a disability.

The holiday party and alcohol may result in employees forgetting important things like laws against sexual harassment and the consent requirement. There may be a supervisor flirting with his or her subordinate, another employee groping a team 

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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.