Colin Walsh
Texas Employer Lawyer Colin Walsh

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

Rob Wiley
Rob Wiley is a Texas employment lawyer.

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

After nearly a year of darkness, there is finally a light. We are all on the verge of receiving the Covid-19 vaccine and finally (and responsibly) breaking out of our year-long quarantine. But, what if the worst happens? What if, as you wait for your approaching vaccine appointment, you feel a tingle in your throat; you lose your sense of smell and/or taste; you start to develop a fever; and you realize that, chances are, you have come down with Covid. At this point, along with informing your family and friends, you must inform your employer as well. That is at least two weeks of your life that you will have to spend in isolation, without work. Although the pandemic may be coming to an end, that does not necessarily mean that you are out of luck. The Families First Coronavirus Care Act (“FFRCA”) still has some life in it and may prevent you from missing out on your bills.

The FFRCA was first enacted by Congress in April of 2020 to combat the economic impacts of Covid-19. If your employer has fewer than 500 employees, then they must allow you to take emergency paid sick leave as well as paid family medical leave. Generally, if you are a full-time employee, you may take up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave, while a part-time employee may take up to the amount of hours they typically work within a two-week period. You may use the paid sick leave if you are quarantined, if your doctor advises it, or if you have Covid-19 symptoms and are waiting for a diagnosis. Your pay must be at your regular rate, up to a maximum of $511 per day or $5,110 total. Additionally, you may also use emergency paid sick leave if you are caring for an individual under quarantine or if you must care for your child because their school or place of care has been closed due to Covid. In this instance, your employer must pay you at least 2/3 of your regular rate of pay or up to a maximum of $200 per day. In either instance, your employer cannot require you to find a replacement worker to cover your shift. Furthermore, your employer cannot require you to deduct other paid vacation, paid personal leave, or paid sick leave prior to taking your emergency paid sick leave.


Continue Reading The Beginning of the End: The Current Status of the Families First Coronavirus Care Act and Your Rights Under It

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?


Continue Reading How do you show a causal link between an adverse action and protected activity in retaliation claims?