On August 27, 2020, the Fifth Court of Appeals of Texas at Dallas reversed the dismissal of Fernando Herrera’s Texas Whistleblower case against Dallas Independent School District. In doing so, it ordered the case back to the trial court for further proceedings.   

The lawsuit alleges DISD terminated Mr. Herrera because he complained to Child Protective Services (“CPS”) about suspected child abuse by other DISD teachers. The lawsuit was initially filed in June 2018 in Dallas District Court.

The lawsuit states Mr. Herrera made two reports to CPS. The first report was made on or about March 31, 2017 after Mr. Herrera witnessed a DISD teacher inappropriately touching a student in front of several other teachers. The second report was made on May 16, 2017 after a concerned parent informed Mr. Herrera she suspected a teacher inappropriately touched a student. On May 17, 2017, DISD put Mr. Herrera on administrative leave.


Continue Reading Recent Texas Whistleblower Act Decision from the Dallas Court of Appeals

The Family and Medical Leave Act provides eligible employees with unpaid, job-protected leave for certain family and medical reasons.  When employees request or take leave, these workers have protections from FMLA interference and retaliation.  This means that employers may not interfere with a worker’s rights to take FMLA leave and may not take adverse employment actions (e.g., write ups, demotions, terminations) against employees for exercising their rights under the FMLA.

Am I protected under the FMLA?

For employees to have protections under the FMLA, their employer must have a minimum of 50 employees within a 75-mile radius of the work location. Additionally, the employee must have worked for the employer for at least a year and must have worked at least 1,250 hours during that year. If all these conditions are not met, the employee may not be protected by the FMLA.


Continue Reading Can I really be fired while on FMLA leave?

One would be hard pressed to find someone who does not know that we are afforded free speech under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Similarly, we are also afforded the same right under the Texas Constitution Article 1 Section 8. Indeed, there are very few rights that are as well-known as the right to free speech, yet, the implications or effects that this fundamental right has in our workplace are often misunderstood and overestimated. My goal is to help clarify or shed light on a few misconceptions that I often see in my day to day practice.


Continue Reading Common Misconceptions Regarding Free Speech

When someone gets treated unlawfully at their job because of that person’s race, age, gender, sex, sexual orientation, disability, religion, national origin, or color that person suffers more than just loss of income.  A person’s job is often tied to their identity, their reputation, their sense of worth, and sense of purpose.  Losing a job, not getting a promotion, not getting hired, or being subjected to severe or pervasive harassment causes very real pain and suffering.  It can strain friendships, estrange family members, break up marriages, and ruin lives.  Because unlawful employment discrimination causes that kind of actual damage, most employment laws allow a person to recover money for those things.  In employment law, these damages are called compensatory damages and can be recovered in lawsuits against private employers, state and local government employers, and federal agencies.


Continue Reading Mental Anguish Damages in Texas and the Fifth Circuit

Do you find yourself in a situation where you are being discriminated at work, but you have no idea what to even do beyond going to HR? This is probably one of the most common scenarios I encounter during consultations. What I’d like to do is go over some very basic things to keep in mind if you find yourself in a situation where you suspect that you are the victim of discrimination.

Documentation is king.

The very first thing to do is take stock of the documents you have that are related to your employment. For example, any type of disciplinary documents, employee handbook, company memos, pertinent emails, termination letter, any complaints that you have filed or sent to anyone at the company like your boss, HR, or a coworker, or anything that may be relevant.


Continue Reading What to do if You are the Victim of Discrimination at the Workplace

“While it is true that these statements are few in number, and that much of the meeting was spent discussing other subjects, their number does not strip the statements of their status as evidence.  After a court draws the negative inference that Sheriff Cutler was negatively referencing Haverda’s letter to the editor, the amount of

“A review of her pleadings reflects that [Employee] has alleged that she has worked for [Employer] since 1988, she encountered no problems in the workplace until she was listed as a witness in [Co-worker]’s complaint in July 2008, and, shortly after being listed as a witness in the legal action [Co-worker] filed in state court

“Defendants cite the following global statement in both declarations: ‘SDT did not fire anyone for complaining about not getting paid for all time worked.’  Neither [Defendant] mentions [Plaintiff] by name, nor do Defendants identify any other evidence to establish the basis for [Plaintiff’s] termination.  The Court finds this evidence insufficient to establish a legitimate, non-retaliatory

“[Plaintiff] claims his thought processes and memory were impaired following the accident because of the injuries he sustained in it. His testimony is corroborated by testimony from his wife and one co-worker. Because it is not disputed that [Plaintiff] sustained some injuries to his head, his claims are not intrinsically unbelievable. While the fact that

“The Fifth Circuit has suggested that an extended gap of time between the plaintiff engaging in a protected activity and an adverse employment action can cut against a finding of retaliation. Mayberry v. Vought Aircraft Co., 55 F.3d 1086, 1092 (5th Cir. 1995) (noting that an interval of several years between the adverse action and