Recently I was asked, “Why is it that servers are bagging up online orders for Uber, DoorDash, etc. and only getting paid $2.13 per hour to do so?” It certainly doesn’t seem very fair, but is it illegal? Like most things in law, the
Robert J. Wiley
Robert J. Wiley is the founder and owner of Rob Wiley, P.C. Mr. Wiley is board certified as a specialist in labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Mr. Wiley graduated with honors from Tulane Law School and received his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University.
1. If you were not practicing labor and employment law what would you be?
I cannot imagine doing anything other than the job I have now. Maybe I would be a union leader or work for a nonprofit.
2. What skills do you most value as an employment attorney?
Being an employment lawyer, you have to have two specialized sets of skills. On one hand, you have to be able to draft motions in court that are extremely complicated and technical. On the other hand, you have to turn around and be able to explain these complicated and technical legalities to individuals who are not lawyers.
3. When did you decide to become a lawyer?
I think that I have always wanted to be a lawyer. My parents would tell you that I seemed predestined to be a lawyer.
4. What is the biggest mistake you see clients make?
Not hiring a lawyer! Whether you’re complaining to the EEOC, going to court, attending a hearing with the Texas Workforce Commission unemployment division, or anything else legal, you really need to hire a lawyer. Even if you do not hire my law firm, you need to get a lawyer to represent you.
5. What is your favorite employment law?
My favorite employment law is Title VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law, passed over fifty years ago, remains one of our most important laws today. The Civil Rights Act set the stage for the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and numerous other employment laws protecting individuals from discrimination. The Civil Rights Act was also an act of bipartisanship. I think that our current government could learn a lot from the determination of our government’s leaders in the 1960’s.
6. What one employment issue would you argue before the Supreme Court?
I would argue that arbitration agreements are unconstitutional because they deprive citizens of the right to a jury. I believe that the right to a jury, enshrined in the Seventh Amendment, is just as important as freedom of speech, freedom from unlawful search and seizure, or the right to bear arms.
7. Who is your favorite Supreme Court justice?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I hope she never resigns and she lives forever.
8. What would you say to HR of a company about how to treat employees?
Treat employees who bring heartfelt complaints with dignity. Try to find truth, rather than inevitably siding with management over subordinate employees. Human Resources has the ability to defuse a potential lawsuit by doing the right thing. Retaliating against the employee because they complain about discrimination or ill treatment will only make matters worse.
9. Besides Rob Wiley, P.C., what is the most interesting job that you have had?
While I was an undergraduate in Nashville, I briefly worked as a tour guide.
10. What is the secret to your success?
The attorneys who work for me.
Being told your job will not be renewed would compel a reasonable employee to resign.
Under the “ultimatum” theory of constructive discharge, a plaintiff “must still show that ‘a reasonable employee would feel compelled to resign.’ Faruki, 123 F.3d at 319.” Lawson v. Hinds County School Dist., 2014 WL 373199 *4 (S.D. Miss. Feb. 3, 2014) (Jordan, J.). The court rejected the employer’s argument “that [supervisor] lacked authority…
Resigning after being told your contract will not be renewed is constructive discharge.
The Plaintiff “was informed that . . . his contract would not be renewed.” Lawson v. Hinds County School Dist., 2014 WL 373199 *1 (S.D. Miss. Feb. 3, 2014) (Jordan, J.). The court notes that “an employee can prove constructive discharge with evidence that she was given an ultimatum requiring her to choose between…
Declarant of racist statement in a direct evidence case does not need authority to hire and fire.
Direct evidence requires a statement be “made by an individual with authority over the employment decision at issue.” Lawson v. Hinds County School Dist., 2014 WL 373199 *5 (S.D. Miss. Feb. 3, 2014) (Jordan, J.) (citing Krystek v. University of Southern Mississippi, 164 F.3d 251, 256 (5th Cir. 1999)). However, “authority” does not mean…
The statement that a black employee was selected for job elimination because it is easier for a black employee to find a job is direct evidence of discrimination.
“In Krystek v. University of Southern Mississippi, the Fifth Circuit explained that workplace comments provide sufficient evidence of discrimination if they are ‘1) related [to the protected class of persons of which the plaintiff is a member]; 2) proximate in time to the terminations; 3) made by an individual with authority over the employment…