We’ve taken another case up to the Supreme Court! In Robertson v. Intratek Computer, Inc., a pending petition for certiorari at the Supreme Court, we asked the Court to determine whether a government contractor or grantee may force an employee to arbitrate their whistleblower retaliation claims
We asked Colin W. Walsh, an experienced Trial Attorney in the Austin office of Rob Wiley, P.C., to impart his candid answers to a range of questions. After reading, you will be more more informed on the well-respected reputation that Mr. Walsh carries.
1. What do you like most about being an employment lawyer?
I enjoy getting tangible results for my clients and being involved in an area of law that affects everybody every day.
2. What is the most important issue to you of being an advocate?
One of the most important issues to me as an advocate is to not only zealously represent my clients, but also the law.
3. What kind of clients do you like best?
I like the clients that I am able to help who were not able to find help elsewhere. On a couple of occasions now, a client has told me that my firm is the first one that has listened to his or her issue and offered any kind of assistance.
4. What do you think is the most important part of a good case?
The client. If the client is not invested, then the other side won’t take it seriously and neither will the jury.
5. What labor and employment issues do you think are currently trending?
The biggest employment discrimination issues I see right now are related to age, disability, and pregnancy discrimination. For some reason, these types of discrimination seem to be acceptable to employers. The other issues right now are minimum wage and overtime pay.
6. Who is your favorite Supreme Court Justice?
Justice William Brennan.
7. What would you say to HR of a company about how to treat employees?
It would be to listen to your employees. Most employees are not looking to sue when he or she goes to Human Resources. These employees are sincerely looking for help. Nothing makes an employee seek legal counsel like when he or she complains about something and HR starts investigating the employee instead of the complaint.
8. Besides Rob Wiley, P.C., what is the most interesting job that you have had?
The most interesting job I’ve had is working as an extra in film and television. I should have known that I was destined to be a lawyer at that point because two of my biggest gigs were the TV show “Boston Legal” and the film Charlie Wilson’s War.
9. What is your favorite food?
Meat pies. I first discovered them when I studied abroad in undergrad. I can’t believe these have not caught on in the U.S. because they are brilliant.
10. What’s the best part of living in Austin?
All of the outdoor festivals. And the Longhorns.
Colin W. Walsh is a Trial Attorney in the Austin office of Rob Wiley, P.C. He graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in theatre in 2006. Mr. Walsh then graduated from The University of Texas School of Law with honors in 2011.
Hark, frēndes! The feld flours blosme and the sǒnne shines. “Tis spring. And that means its Ren Fest season!
Right now, through April 24, just outside of Austin there is the Sherwood Forest Faire. After that, head north by horse for three days and you will…
Not cool. On its face that violates the Equal Pay Act. The Equal Pay Act is a federal law that states employees of one sex must be paid the same as employees of the opposite sex for the same job. Here it is in legalese:
It’s dark out there right now.
In Texas, it is judicial fact that women and people of color have less rights than they do almost anywhere else in the country. Regarding women, I am obviously talking about the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing the flagrantly unconstitutional 6-week…
In the classic Thanksgiving film Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Steve Martin’s character meets Del Griffith, a salesman played by John Candy, at an airport. In fact, Del is the director of sales, shower curtain ring division for American Light & Fixture. He works hard at…
Human Resources has called you into a meeting. At first, you are nervous. You wonder if someone caught you taking Carl’s lunch from the fridge or if all of those pens you accidentally put in your pocket are going to come back to haunt you. But…
On December 18, 2020, I published a blog all about 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (“§ 1981” or “Section 1981”) claims. I’m sure you remember it. It was pretty great, if I do say so myself.
But just in case, very briefly, § 1981 prohibits race discrimination…
If a person or company breaches a contract they have, that person or company can be sued immediately in court. If someone gets in a car wreck, in theory, a lawsuit could happen the next day. Ditto if you don’t get paid minimum wage or overtime. But with employment…
Under the Equal Pay Act, an employer must pay both men and women equally if they perform equal work. That raises the question of what equal work means. The statute itself helps with this question a little bit. The text of the statute states that work is considered equal if the performance of both jobs…
In order to make a viable retaliation claim, a plaintiff must generally have evidence of each element of a what is called a prima facie case. The phrase prima facie simply means “on first impression.” In the employment law context, a prima facie case means the basic elements of a claim that, if true, give rise to an inference of discrimination or retaliation. So for a retaliation claim, a plaintiff must usually show the following elements (1) that the plaintiff engaged in protected activity, (2) that the plaintiff suffered a materially adverse action, and (3) that a causal link exists between the protected activity and the adverse action. If facts establish each of those elements, then under the law, an inference of retaliation arises, which the defendant must then rebut by producing a legitimate, non-retaliatory reason for the adverse action. The purpose of this post is to briefly discuss what is necessary to show that third all-important causal link element under Fifth Circuit law.
The first thing that needs to be made clear is what level of causation is necessary to show the causal link. The causal link standard is very low. According to the Fifth Circuit, all a plaintiff must show to establish a prima facie causal link is that the protected activity and the adverse action are “not wholly unrelated.” See Medina v. Ramsey Steel Co., 238 F.3d 674, 684 (5th Cir. 2001). So how do you do that?…