Updates from September, 2010 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 9:14 am on September 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: florida employment law, florida immigration, florida immigration law   

    Florida State Leaders propose immigration law 

    Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, along with Rep. William Snyder and other state legislative leaders, revealed proposed legislation that would curb illegal immigration in Florida, according to a recent Attorney General’s news release. Under the proposed legislation, law enforcement officers would be required to check suspected illegal immigrants’ status during the course of a lawful stop, Florida businesses would be required to use E-Verify to ensure new hires are legally authorized to work, and penalties for illegal aliens who commit crimes in the state would be enhanced.

    Similar to the controversial Arizona immigration law, portions of which a federal judge preliminarily enjoined the state from enforcing last month, the Florida draft legislation requires aliens to carry immigration documentation or face a misdemeanor that could result in a sentence of up to 20 days in jail for the first offense. The proposed Florida law also makes it a misdemeanor for an illegal alien not authorized to work to seek employment in Florida.

    Would Florida succeed where Arizona failed? Based on the likelihood that the federal government could succeed on the merits in showing that they are preempted by federal law, and other factors, US District Judge Susan Bolton enjoined enforcement of similar provisions in the Arizona immigration law:

    * A requirement that an officer make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained, or arrested if there is a “reasonable suspicion” that the person is unlawfully present in the United States, and requiring verification of the immigration status of any person arrested prior to releasing that person;
    * A provision that makes failure to apply for or carry alien registration papers a crime; and
    * A provision that makes it a crime for an unauthorized alien to solicit, apply for, or perform work.

    Nonetheless, attorneys in the Florida Attorney General’s Office have reviewed Bolton’s ruling and made changes to the Florida draft legislation “to strengthen it against potential constitutional challenges.”

    Florida’s proposed version is tougher. The proposed Florida immigration law goes further than the Arizona law by giving judges and law enforcement additional tools in dealing with illegal immigrants from bond through sentencing. Judges would be permitted to specifically consider a defendant’s unlawful presence in the process of setting his or her bond. The proposed law also includes a sentencing enhancement, so that illegal aliens who commit crimes in Florida would face increased prison time.

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 2:45 pm on September 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Civil Rights Violations, , harassment, Notice of Suit Rights, ,   

    Has your Civil Rights been violated in the workplace? 

    Many employees come to my office to consult with me about sexual harassment or discrimination based upon race, pregnancy, gender or age. On some occasions, the employee may still be employed by the employer.

    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

    Most employers with at least 15 employees are covered by EEOC laws (20 employees in age discrimination cases). Most labor unions and employment agencies are also covered. The laws apply to all types of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits.

    An EEOC Charge can either be filed with the assistance and representation of counsel or by the employee on their own. If you do it on your own, the EEOC will give you the forms and guidance on how to prepare the Charge of Discrimination. Once a complaint is made to HR or the EEOC, the employer is not legally allowed to retaliate or discriminate against you for making these complaints. However, that does not always mean the employer will follow the rules so you should keep careful notes and documentation of all complaints made, to whom you made them, and any actions taken against you as a result of these complaints.

    The EEOC has a link on its website that you can use to do an online assessment of whether or not you should bring a charge with the EEOC. The link is at https://egov.eeoc.gov/eas/.

    It is important to know however that if you choose to file an EEOC Charge, you must do so within 180 days or 300 days of the claimed discrimination or harassment, so don’t wait too long to take this action. You get 300 days if your state has an agency similar to the EEOC such as in Florida, there is the Florida Commission on Human Relations (“FCHR”). You can fill out a charge in person at one of the EEOC offices or do it by mail.

    Once the EEOC Charge is filed, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency, has a staff of investigators who investigate your complaints. The employer is supposed to receive a copy of your Charge within ten days. They allow the employer an opportunity to file a formal response and generally will then ask for a reply from the employee. Sometimes, they will seek to interview the employee in person or over the telephone to get more information for their investigation. Sometimes the investigators will seek documents from the employer. Sometimes the EEOC will offer the parties to mediate the claims prior to further investigations. Keep in mind that if you choose to file an EEOC charge on your own, without an attorney, you will not have the support and guidance of an attorney to help you through this process.

    Once the EEOC completes its investigation, they will issue either a “cause determination” finding that they believed discrimination took place or will issues a “Notice of Suit Rights” which states that although they don’t believe discrimination took place, you can file a legal action against the employer if you choose to do so. If the EEOC issues a “cause” determination, they can choose to file a lawsuit on your behalf, but are not required to do so.

    Upon receipt of your Notice from the EEOC, if you are going to file a lawsuit, you must do so quickly since any Federal claims under the ADA, Title VII, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, etc must be filed within 90 days. In Florida and other states, there are also state statutes which provide you a longer time to file suit.

    In order to obtain the best results, it is often necessary to retain the services of an experienced employment law attorney as early in the case as possible. Call Coane & Associates at 713.850.0066 to schedule your consultation with our experienced attorneys who are compassionate about your rights.

    • Nadjia 1:40 pm on September 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve been working at Publix now for 2 years. My boss keeps harassing me about my religion (Islam) and keeps making rude comments and slurs to the point of me being uncomfortable. I’ve been researching this topic online, but haven’t found much about this topic until I ran across your article. I’d like to know more about my rights.

    • Lydia 2:34 am on May 30, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Hi I was terminated from my job and accused of possessing information with the intention of benefiting from the information for a position that i currently held. I have 27 years in human services and have never had an infraction or been dismissed. The employer dismissed me for unacceptable personal conduct. I am the only Latino on staff and I was dismissed without cause. What can I do and what are my rights? I believe that I was terminated because I am the Hispanic and also feel that my civil rights were violated.

      • bruce.coane@gmail.com 3:00 am on May 30, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        While each state has its own rules,what we typically do is file a complaint with the EEOC on behalf of our clients. The EEOC process is normally a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit under the federal civil rights laws. Feel free to call us if you’d like to schedule an appointment.

      • Coane & Associates 9:26 pm on March 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        We would love to help. Its never too late for justice. You can reach us at 713-850-0066

    • Robert 8:06 pm on September 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I was diagnosed with MS around 10 years ago. While I was out the head of human resources said to me if you want us to help you you have to tell us what is wrong.I was in fear of losing my job so stupidly I did.I ahve been called handicaped by store managers,other managers and had my postiion taken away.It is a long story and I am scared about what is happening now withthe illness.

    • Robert 8:09 pm on September 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I am in another bad situation and feel if I go to HR operations will do wahtever they can to get rid of me

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 5:39 pm on September 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: august 2010 visa bulletin, employment based visa, september 2010 visa bulletin, visa bulletin   

    September 2010 Visa Bulletin: A Great Leap Forward for Some… 

    Recently, we spotted some language written by the State Department in the August 2010 Visa Bulletin which indicated that certain categories might advance rapidly in the September 2010 Visa Bulletin. And for many thousands of people, the September Visa Bulletin is a dream-come-true. Not for those with India and China employment-based (EB) priority dates who have been waiting in line for much too long (Did you hear that, Congress?).

    For who does the September 2010 Visa Bulletin apply to?

    In particular, for those in the worldwide EB-3 category for instance — For professionals and skilled workers, the numbers advanced over 5 months in September while for unskilled workers, the advance was over 10 months. The worldwide family numbers advanced between 2 and 12 months, much faster than they did back in September 2009. The biggest movers in the worldwide family categories were 2A (spouses and children of permanent residents) and 2B (unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents). 2A advanced 10 months while 2B moved forward one full year!

    Thus, there are people stuck in the worldwide family backlogs have something to cheer about, persons born in the Philippines, a country where demand for visa numbers far outpaces the supply, are positively ecstatic! Family 1st advanced by one full year, 2A by 10 months, 2B by one year, 3rd by 8 months and 4th by 9 months! (Thanks, Congress for listening…)

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 1:27 am on September 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    The immigration service is filing motions to dismiss… 

    The immigration service is filing motions to dismiss immigration court cases in record numbers. While it had been the policy of some immigration offices to request the closure of court cases, when there is a viable avenue for an individual to immigrate, this has not been the case in many cities around the country.

    For example, in Houston, Texas, it has always been the local immigration office policy to prosecute deportation cases, even where the individual could easily get a green card, for example, based on marriage to a USA citizen. Instead of saving time and the expense of a trial in deportation court, the local office always had the ability to close an approvable case and handle it informally at the local office. Unfortunately, in cities like Houston, the immigration service took the wasteful and unreasonable position of prosecuting everything, even where the result of the judge approving the green card was inevitable. In many cases, the government attorney would not even affirmatively prosecute, but would waste the time of the judge and money of the immigrant by showing up for trial and allowing the person to get the green card from the judge, anyway.

    The new nationwide policy of the immigration service is to close all court cases where it would be a waste of time and money to prosecute. The government should be commended for implementing this nationwide policy to save time and money and to free-up the courts for the prosecution of deportation cases where the immigrant has little or no defense.

    • Hillary 2:46 pm on September 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      What is Obama’s view on this?

      • Coane & Associates 3:02 pm on September 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I have not seen any comment by him, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t commented. There are daily changes in interpretations of immigration laws and procedures, and the President would rarely comment, except on larger policy questions.

        • James Wong 4:16 pm on September 9, 2010 Permalink

          so the new policy goes into effect dismissing all cases that deem wasteful so how does the government decide which ones to dismiss?

        • Coane & Associates 7:45 pm on September 22, 2010 Permalink

          The government reviews cases in each city and determines if the person has a pending application that would allow them to immigrate lawfully anyway, eg, they are married to a USA citizen, or they have an approved visa petition such as VAWA, I-140 with current quota, etc.

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