A new Fifth Circuit case reveals the consequence that can occur when an employer and its managers fail to take harassment complaints seriously; fail to promptly and thoroughly investigate the complaints; and reach conclusions following the investigation that just plain wrong.   In Cherry v. Shaw Coastal Inc., a male employee (Cherry) complained that his immediate

I have already written about the Herman Cain story and won’t opine further on it here except to say, I have no idea who is telling the truth in the he-said-she-said (and she-said; and she said) story.  The headlines do remind me about what little rights the accused harasser has when, as Herman Cain claims, a false complaint of harassment has been made.   And before you start sending me the hate mail over this HSO, read the remainder of this post.


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Prompt and thorough investigations of complaints of harassment and discrimination can provide solid legal defenses to employee lawsuits.  Even where there may not be a technical, legal defense (e.g., supervisory harassment resulting in an adverse employment action), investigating employee complaints of inappropriate behavior can paint the employer in a favorable light and is just a good

This week the Fifth Circuit held that a cause of action exists for hostile work environment under the ADEA –the first such express holding in the Circuit.  In Dediol v. Best Chevrolet, the plaintiff filed a hostile work environment and constructive discharge claim against the employer.

During the brief two months of employment, Dediol

In Texas, employees and employers are entitled to a telephone hearing before a hearing officer if either party disagrees with an initial determination issued by the Commission in unemployment benefit and Texas Pay Day Act claims.  There are some occasions, however, where an employer may consider foregoing these telephone conferences –even if it means losing the unemployment

Employment Practices Liability Insurance, or EPLI, is business insurance an employer can purchase that will provide protection from losses caused by certain employment disputes with current or former employees. EPLI is in addition to commercial general liability or umbrella policies that normally contain exclusions for most employment claims.

EPLI normally covers the employer, its employees and executives for

The Fifth Circuit held today that a spouse of a successful Title VII plaintiff cannot maintain a legal claim for loss of consortium (i.e., loss of spousal services) under state and federal law.  In Barker, Tracey Barker was a civilian worker employed by Halliburton (aka KBR).  She claimed she was subjected to sexual harassment, retaliation and

In an issue of first impression, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (the federal appellate court hearing cases from Texas), held that the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) provides no cause of action for a hostile work environment that is created because of a service member’s military service. 

The Plaintiffs, in Carder

The El Paso Court of Appeals held this week that a Texas employer can use mandamus petition to challenge a trial court’s jurisdiction where the plaintiff-employee failed to file his charge of discrimination timely.  A link to the opinion is here