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  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 8:47 am on October 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , #OSHA, #Workplace   

    Employment Update: COVID-19 Issues in the Workplace 

    In this video, I give an update on employment law issues in the workplace, as a result of COVID-19. These issues range from return-to-work situations to OSHA investigations of a dangerous or unsafe workplace.

    Our Texas employment law firm and Florida employment law firm get inquiries daily about these exact issues. The coronavirus or COVID-19 presents a huge problem for employers and workplace safety issues.

    I hope you find this video presentation to be helpful.

    Bruce A. Coane is a Houston employment lawyer and a Miami employment lawyer and represents clients in employment law matters under federal law throughout the United States. He may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com or at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800. The law firm website is http://www.coane.com.

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 8:35 am on October 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    Tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg and a 2020 Update on Immigration Law 

    In this video, I talk about my personal experiences and meeting with Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I also provide an update on some of the latest news in the world of USA immigration law. In this ever-changing field of law, there are new rules, regulations, interpretations and laws coming out on almost a daily basis.

    Bruce Coane is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is a Miami immigration lawyer and a Houston immigration lawyer with offices in both cities. He may be reached at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800, or by email at bruce.coane@gmail.com. The law firm website is http://www.coane.com.

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 2:57 pm on July 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    COVID-19 and Employment Laws 

    I will be speaking at this webinar sponsored by the American Bar Association tomorrow. It is all about the hot issues of employment law relating to COVID-19. More than 50% of the daily inquiries I get about employment law, relates to COVID-19. I look forward to sharing some insights with those in attendance tomorrow.

    Employment and Immigration Issues for Foreign Workers After COVI

    The author: Bruce A. Coane is a Houston employment lawyer and Miami employment lawyer for over 30 years, representing both workers and employers in workplace disputes. He  may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com, or at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800. The website is http://www.coane.com.

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 10:27 am on May 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #NLRA, , #NonUnion,   

    Wrongful termination as a violation of the NLRA for Non-Union Workers 

    Guest Blog Post by Houston Employment Attorney, Edwin Villa.

    In the world of employment law, plaintiffs bringing suit against their employers for discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environment, and wrongful termination are commonplace.  The overwhelming majority of these types of cases are brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and fall under the jurisdiction of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,EEOC.  However, plaintiffs also have the ability to bring certain types of cases against their employers under the National Labor Relations Act, NLRA, which is under the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board, NLRB.  In many cases, an employer discriminating against an employee can be in violation of both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the NLRA.

    The NLRB is an independent federal agency enforcing the National Labor Relations Act, which Congress enacted in 1935.  The NLRA was created to protect employees by guaranteeing the right of most private sector employees to organize, to engage in group efforts to improve their wages and working conditions, to determine whether to have unions as their bargaining representative, to engage in collective bargaining, and to refrain from any of these activities.  However, what is not common knowledge is that the NLRB protects non-union workers in the same manner as it does union workers.  Furthermore, when an employer violates the NLRA by terminating an employee for actions protected and ensured by the NLRA, an employee can then bring suit against the employer by filing a NLRB charge.

    Specifically, claims of wrongful termination can violate the NLRA if an employee is terminated for what the NLRB deems protected concerted activity. Examples of this type of protected activity include employees’ right to band together with coworkers to improve their lives at work, acting  with coworkers to address work-related issues such as wages and benefits or other working conditions, circulating a petition asking for better hours, participating in a concerted refusal to work in unsafe conditions, and joining with coworkers to talk directly to their employer, to a government agency, or to the media about problems in the workplace. All of these activities are protected by the NLRA and enforced by the NLRB, and employers cannot discharge, discipline, or threaten employees for, or coercively question employees about, this “protected concerted” activity.

    At Coane and Associates, PLLC, we are currently representing multiple clients whose employers allegedly violated both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the NLRA by first discriminating against them in some way, and subsequently retaliating against them for complaints of discrimination by terminating them for engaging in activities that are protected by the NLRA.  For example, we have both an EEOC and NLRB charge pending against a Houston company for maybe first violating Title VII by engaging in national origin discrimination against our client, and then violating the NLRA by terminating our client for discussing a disciplinary write up with a co-worker, an action that is protected under the NLRA.  This action by the employer is a wrongful termination because an employee cannot be terminated for engaging in activities that are protected by the NLRA, even if those activities go against an employer’s policies.  Many employees do not realize that they are protected by the NLRA because they mistakenly believe its for union members only.

    EdwinVilla

     

    The author: Edwin Villa is a Houston employment lawyer representing both workers and employers in workplace disputes. He  may be reached at edwin.villa@coane.com or at 713.850.0066. The website is http://www.coane.com.

     

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 9:49 am on April 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #ExecutiveOrder,   

    Trump Halts Immigration to the United States 

    On Monday evening, the President announced that he was going to sign an Executive Order to temporarily halt immigration to the United States. On Tuesday, he held a press conference where he answered questions about immigration, and this Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer watched almost the entire press conference.

    Ever since the President’s announcement on Monday, I have been inundated by calls, emails and messages asking about the effect of the new immigration ban. Unfortunately, there has been nothing in writing, but only leaks about what might be in the ban. Even at yesterday’s press conference, the President did not reveal much, other than there would be a temporary halt.

    I will follow-up with another blog post in a day or two analyzing the President’s Executive Order halting immigration, once it is written and signed, which he predicted would be today or tomorrow.

    Here’s what we know directly from the President. It will be a temporary halt. The reason for it, as he stated yesterday, is to protect American jobs that have been lost due to the coronavirus pandemic. He made it very clear however, that he was not halting immigration because immigrants can bring coronavirus to the United States, but rather he was halting immigration to protect American jobs.

    As a lawyer, this is very interesting that a President can cancel existing laws “to protect the job market,” especially when those laws were passed with protecting the job market in mind. Moreover, it is being done without any empirical study on the effect of immigration and the  current job market. Of course, prior studies have shown the contrary, how immigration and immigrants actually improve the overall job market by becoming consumers,  creating jobs and through investment.

    While it may sound good and logical to the average person………halt immigration to protect American jobs……….the consequences of allowing a President to cancel existing laws passed by Congress and signed by prior presidents, can have very serious repercussions in the future. This can set a very dangerous precedent.

    Moreover, our country has a long history of  debating and passing immigration laws where there has always been a tug-of-war between the pro-immigration lobby and the labor lobby. Historically, and we are talking about many decades, the labor lobby (unions, etc) have wanted to limit immigration in order to protect American jobs. So, as Congress would pass laws about immigration, there would always be compromise in order to protect the American labor market.  As a result, our immigration laws have been passed with certain rules already built-in to protect the labor market for American workers. It is no simple task for any company to bring in foreign workers, and it can take years with various levels of proof being submitted to the government to show that American workers are not being displaced.

    The Executive Order to halt immigration reminds me of the Obama Executive Order to extend DACA-like protection to parents of U.S. citizens who are presently in the country. In that situation, the courts stopped the Obama program saying that he cannot extend immigration laws by Executive Order. It would be interesting to see if the courts say that Trump cannot limit or halt the laws by stopping immigration, by Executive Order. Like many past Executive Orders about immigration by President Trump, this new Executive Order  will be immediately challenged in court, and no doubt, be temporarily enjoined from being enforced by a federal judge. As with his other Executive Orders, it will likely end up in the Supreme Court, and if recent precedent holds true, the Supreme Court will allow the temporary ban, perhaps in a more narrow fashion.

    I will not speculate as to what forms of immigration will be banned, because the Order itself is coming at any moment and it will be specific.  However, from his press conference and from the leaks so far, it seems that it will affect only immigrants who are currently outside the U.S., and not immigrants who have cases pending for work permits or green cards inside the U.S.  Of course, I could be wrong and we will just have to see what it actually says.

    Will the Order have an effect on applications for immigration such as extensions of B-2 visitor status or E-2 investor status, or even H-1B or L-1 visa status? The answer is almost certainly, no. That would be way too broad to get past the Supreme Court in my opinion. Will it stop an immigration lawyer like me from submitting visa petitions for my clients? The answer is that it is very unlikely to have that effect. All indications are that it is a temporary halt on a very narrow basis, as affects people entering the United States from abroad. So, for people here, it almost certainly will not halt the immigration situation within the United States………but we will see, so,watch for my update.

    Finally, as a practical matter, there is already an effective immigration halt because immigrant and non-immigrant visas are issued by U.S. Consulates and U.S. Embassies around the world and they have all been closed since last month and are not issuing any visas. Additionally, most airlines are no longer flying into the United States, so that even those with visas cannot get into the country right now.

    Bruce Coane is a Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer who is Board Certified in Immigration & Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com or by phone at 305.538.6800 or 713.850.0066. The website is http://www.coane.com.

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 11:38 am on April 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , #Zoom   

    Coronavirus: Employment Laws and Psychiatry 

    Here is a Zoom video conversation I had this week with Houston psychiatrist, Dr. Daniela White. This Houston wrongful termination lawyer and Miami wrongful termination lawyer discussed some of the new employment laws relating to Coronavirus, as well as psychiatric issues she was seeing with patients. For a bit of insight on the laws and some good ideas about dealing with stress caused by isolation and quarantine, please enjoy our short video discussion.

     

    For further information, I can be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com or 713.850.0066, or 305.538.6800. The website is http://www.coane.com. Dr. White can be reached at 713.426.3100.

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 12:42 pm on April 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , #ImmigrationCourt, #SocialDistancing   

    Immigration Cases continue to be Processed 

    While many offices close and the population shelters in place, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is open for business (via mail and online filings) and continues to process cases.

    Our office also remains open, although most consultations these days are done by phone, WhatsApp, FaceTime or Skype. The front desk in all three of our offices is still manned by our excellent staff who continue to receive in-person packages and materials from clients and vendors. We also continue  to do  in-person appointments.

    The USCIS has stopped interviewing at local offices and has canceled naturalization ceremonies which is very unfortunate. But, with social distancing, such large ceremonies would have been impossible. Hopefully they will resume in the near future, otherwise their backlog of cases will be almost insurmountable with further delays in adjudications.

    As for foreign visitors to the USA and others on non-immigrant visas, many are in quite a predicament. If a non-immigrant worker such as H-1B or L-1 worker gets laid off, they can’t exactly leave the country right now, and they can quickly fall out of status once their grace period expires. And, those on ESTA or B-2 visitor status with expiration dates fast approaching have a serious dilemma where they cannot leave the USA and where there are limitations on extending status.

    This Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer continues to work tirelessly, both at home and at the office to preserve the legal rights of clients and to timely file applications so that clients do not miss critical deadlines.

    As for immigration courts, the courts that handle jail cases are still operating on a daily basis. The regular immigration courts that handle cases for foreign nationals who are not in jail, have canceled cases through April 10. That will most likely be extended in light of the president’s announcement extending social distancing for another 30 days.

    For further information, you may contact the  author, Bruce Coane, who is a lawyer Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is available 24/7 at bruce.coane@gmail.com. He may also be reached at 713.850.0066 and 305.538.6800 during the week. The website is http://www.coane.com.

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 10:12 am on March 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , #FMLA, #PaidSickLeave   

    The new Coronavirus FMLA Law and Paid Sick Leave Act 

    Here is a video I recorded this weekend, with CPA, Ann McCowan, in Miami Beach. We talk about Coronavirus and COVID-19 and the new FMLA law and the Paid Sick Leave Act and how it affects both employers and employees. Ann explains the tax impacts and financial benefits for both employers and employees.

     

    As most of you know, as an attorney, I have been practicing both employment law/wrongful termination and immigration law for over 30 years. For further information, I can be contacted at bruce.coane@gmail.com or at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800.  I hope you enjoy our video.

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 10:08 am on March 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply  

    Fired for Raising Concerns about Coronavirus or COVID-19? 

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    I have been getting daily inquiries about employee rights in light of the Coronavirus and COVID-19 situation. Many employees have been fired for discussing the virus or taking time off. Today a doctor inquired about a hospital refusing to allow him to wear a mask while he makes his rounds. These are all novel issues and further complicated by emergency declarations at the local and national level.

    Often during times of emergency declarations, legal rights are suspended. On the other hand, it still remains illegal to fire someone over protected legal rights, such as their disability or religion.

    This Houston employment lawyer and Miami employment lawyer, deals with these issues every day. I consider federal laws under the Civil Rights Act of 1967,  the Americans with Disabilities Act, the National Labor Relations Act, and others. It is a matter of taking the individual facts of the person’s Coronavirus or COVID-19 situation and trying to apply those facts to existing laws.

    What about lay-offs? There are hundreds of thousands , if not millions of American workers being laid off right now. If an employer has been trying to get rid of an employee for quite sometime, placing them in a group layoff is certainly one way to disguise their intent. In order for the employee to have a case in that situation, they would have to show that they were unfairly included in the layoff because of their age, race, sex or some other discriminatory reason. If the entire workforce is laid off, then, of course, the employee would most likely lose.

    As these brand new employment issues arise due to Coronavirus and COVID-19, I will continue to work with clients to come up with out-of-the-box solutions to find laws that may cover their situation and may get them some justice in dealing with employers who make unfair or unscrupulous  decisions.

    The author: Bruce A. Coane is a Houston employment lawyer and Miami employment lawyer for over 30 years, representing both workers and employers in workplace disputes. He  may be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com, or at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800. The website is http://www.coane.com.

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 8:11 am on March 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #Coronavirus #Travelban #Immigration   

    Coronavirus, Travel Bans and the U.S. Immigration System 

    In this video I talk about the coronavirus and its effects on the U.S. Immigration System.

    For further information, contact Bruce Coane, Houston Immigration Lawyer and Miami Immigration Lawyer, at bruce.coane@gmail.com, 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800.

     
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