Updates from October, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Coane & Associates 4:37 pm on October 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Fighting Unemployment can Backfire on Employer 

    In a recent case from Pennsylvania involving a retaliation claim under Title VII involving an employer who opposed a former employee’s claim for unemployment compensation who had also filed a charge of discrimination, the court found that the employer could be liable.

    Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, an employer engages in unlawful retaliation when, in response to an employee complaint of discrimination, it acts in a way that may dissuade a reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of discrimination.  A federal district court in Pennsylvania held that an employer’s request that its agent contest the employee’s claim for unemployment compensation and state that the employee was “discharged for gross negligence causing a financial loss to the employer,” amounted to retaliation under Title VII.  The employee claimed that this appeal prevented her from continuing to receive unemployment compensation benefits and made it impossible to find new employment.

    The employer argued that there was no adverse employment action in contesting the employee’s unemployment benefits claim because it occurred after her employment had already ended.  Even though the employer cited previous case law where a court found no adverse employment action because contesting unemployment came after employment ended (the case involved the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and not Title VII), it noted that in this case the employee was already collecting benefits then lost them, suffering economic harm and damaged her chances of procuring future employment.

    For whatever reason, it seems that employers are contesting unemployment more often these days. However, as this case points out, there can be some risk for an employer who does so, thereby exposing themselves to liability under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (a federal law that applies to employers with 15 or more employees).

    The case is STEZZI v. CITIZENS BANK OF PENNSYLVANIA, Dist. Court, ED Pennsylvania 2012, Case No. Civil Action No. 10-4333.

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    About the author: Bruce Coane is an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law and immigration law, with offices in Florida and Texas. He may be reached at houstonlaw@aol.com, 713-850-0066 or 305-538-6800.

     
    • Anonymous 4:09 am on November 7, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      The tykkkuuuuuyyyyyyhhuuuhhhu

  • Coane & Associates 4:25 am on October 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Shintech   

    Shintech Faces EEOC Race Discrimination Charge 

    Our law firm filed a race discrimination charge against Shintech, of Freeport, Texas, on behalf of a Hispanic worker who was recently fired.

    Shintech logo

    photo: wbrz.com

    The charge is currently under investigation at the EEOC. It alleges that our client was fired, after 13 years of employment, with no warning and with no valid cause, other than he was non-white.

    It is alleged that our client and another non-white worker were both fired by the company, solely because of their race, and over a minor incident. The charge alleges that white workers who violated company rules and engaged in serious infractions were not fired, yet our client and another man were fired for a far less serious matter. The EEOC will conduct their investigation where they will determine if there is sufficient cause to support the charge of race discrimination.

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    About the author: Bruce Coane is an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law and immigration law, with offices in Florida and Texas. He may be reached at houstonlaw@aol.com, 713-850-0066 or 305-538-6800.

     
  • Coane & Associates 6:32 am on August 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    EEOC Charges Against LNR Property LLC Go to Investigative Unit 

    After a failed mediation at the EEOC, our client’s charges of race and national origin discrimination against LNR Property LLC, of Miami Beach, are being returned to the EEOC’s investigative unit.

    The charges were filed in April 2012, after our client was fired. Our client was at the firm for over 10 years. He is a US citizen, born in Haiti. He says that he was the only black person in his department and one of the few non-Hispanics. He says that most of his Hispanic co-workers spoke in Spanish (which he could not understand) and constantly piled work on him, while they took constant breaks and often sat around with nothing to do.

    The EEOC will investigate these charges to determine if LNR has violated the law. If the EEOC determines that LNR has violated the law, they may seek conciliation or the EEOC could file a lawsuit. Alternatively, the EEOC can issue a Right to Sue letter, allowing our client to pursue the matter directly in Federal court.

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    About the author: Bruce Coane is an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law and immigration law, with offices in Florida and Texas. He may be reached at houstonlaw@aol.com, 713-850-0066 or 305-538-6800.

     
    • Sunshyne 3:32 pm on August 7, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I worked at LNR and everything “Peter” says is absolutely not true.. He was the actual slacker and the one who took constant breaks. He doesn’t have a case. Everything he “was not doing” is carefully documented and HR was involved. HR was not “Hispanic”. I wish they would call me to testify

      • Anonymous 7:28 pm on September 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        He was working in the company for 10 years but just he noticed he was discriminated when was fired. He is complaining not understand Spanish. This lack of skills can not be imputed to the company as well as does the fact that Hispanics speak in their own language between them. Is well known how hard workers are the most of Hispanic people, so it is hard to believe they delegated their responsibilities on Peter shoulders. Those allegation sound funny to me.

  • Coane & Associates 5:00 am on August 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Intertek,   

    Ex-employee files Pregnancy Discrimination charges against Intertek 

    A former lab analyst at Houston-based Intertek, has filed discrimination charges against the company with the EEOC. Coane and Associates is currently representing her at the EEOC.

    Our client is from Sri Lanka and was working for the company on a working visa. Once she got pregnant, however, it all went downhill at work, according to our client. She has complained to the EEOC about pregnancy discrimination and related causes of action.

    The employer allegedly harassed her at work once she they knew she was pregnant, and, after her maternity leave, promptly fired her two weeks later. The EEOC will be investigating the charges, after which the matter may be brought to court.

    Our law firm has handled many pregnancy discrimination cases, and the law is clear, that it is illegal to treat a pregnant employee differently than her co-workers and/or to single her out for unfair treatment.

    __________________________________________________________________________________________________

    About the author: Bruce Coane is an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law and immigration law, with offices in Florida and Texas. He may be reached at houstonlaw@aol.com, 713-850-0066 or 305-538-6800.

     
  • Coane & Associates 9:05 am on July 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Race Discrimination Case Against Kroger and Use of word "Nigger" 

    I am preparing for a jury trial in Houston which starts on August 7, 2012. The case involves race discrimination against Kroger, the big supermarket chain in Houston.

    Racial Discrimination

    photo: you-can-learn-basic-employee-rights.com

    Our client claims that she was constantly called “nigger” by her white co-worker. She says that she complained to management and they rarely, if ever, took action. They let him continue working there, she alleges, because he was friends with the store manager.

    As I prepare for trial, I was discussing how many times we think the word “nigger” will be mentioned in the trial. We even talked about substituting the phrase, “the “N” word”, rather than saying the racial slur over and over again. I’ve had sex harassment and race discrimination cases where other slurs were used, and I always avoid repeating them, but rather say the “f-word” or the “b-word”.

    Wondering what my friends in the blogosphere and on FB think. Should we keep saying “nigger” throughout the trial, or should we say “the N word”, instead. Somehow I think the jury will grow tired, and maybe even offended by the constant repetition of the word “nigger”.

    __________________________________________________________________________________________________

    About the author: Bruce Coane is an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law and immigration law, with offices in Florida and Texas. He may be reached at houstonlaw@aol.com, 713-850-0066 or 305-538-6800.

     
    • Anonymous 1:09 am on August 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Please use “The N Word” in the courtroom. This blog is very difficult to read because I found the language offensive. If I were a juror and the attorney kept saying the word you used above I would find it difficult to be sympathetic to your cause. Good luck to you and your client.

    • Jill 3:07 am on December 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      What did you end up doing and what was the outcome. I would say it once when repeating verbatim the statement of the person who uttered it. I would refrain from using it again and use the n-word in other instances.

  • Coane & Associates 3:43 am on May 30, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Angella Ayissi, , , , ,   

    Kroger Loses Motion to Dismiss Race Discrimination and Sex Harassment Lawsuit 

    In an Order released today by the U.S.District Court in Houston, The Kroger Company lost its motion for summary judgment on a race discrimination and sex harassment case.

    © AP Photo/David Koh

    The case was brought by Angella Ayissi, a long-time cashier who works at Kroger. The papers on file in her case state that Kroger management allowed an employee at their Sugar Land, Texas store to constantly say the word, “nigger” and other racially and sexually hostile words. She states that this went on for years before Kroger ever took any action.

    Lawyers for Kroger tried to get the case dismissed, but on May 29, 2012, Judge Nancy Atlas denied their motion, except for a retaliation claim, and ordered that the case proceed to jury trial at the end of July.

    Our law firm has been representing Ms. Ayissi from the outset, and we were very pleased with the judge’s 17 page Order allowing this case to be decided by the jury. Many times the judges dismiss these cases, but in this case, the judge found that Ms. Ayissi raised genuine issues of material fact and that Kroger would have to stand trial.

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    About the author: Bruce Coane is an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law, and, immigration law, with offices in Florida and Texas. He may be reached at houstonlaw@aol.com, 713-850-0066 or 305-538-6800.

     
  • Coane & Associates 3:40 am on April 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Hatian Man Files EEOC Charge Against LNR Property LLC 

    Our law firm was recently hired to represent a Haitian-American man in a discrimination complaint against his former employer, LNR Property LLC. The charge of discrimination was filed with the EEOC this month, and alleges discrimination based on race, national origin and sex.

    Our client worked at LNR for over 10 years and seemed to be doing just fine. About one year ago, he got a new supervisor, and that is when he alleges the discrimination began against him because he is not Hispanic like most of his co-workers. He alleges that co-workers including his supervisor constantly spoke in Spanish and excluded him from such conversations and other work activities.

    The issue of speaking foreign languages in the work place continues to be a hot issue in discrimination cases. Our law firm is handling several cases in Miami concerning similar issues.

    In accordance with federal law, the EEOC will be conducting an investigation of our client’s complaint, after which, he can take his case to federal court.

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    About the author: Bruce Coane is an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law, and, immigration law, with offices in Florida and Texas. He may be reached at houstonlaw@aol.com, 713-850-0066 or 305-538-6800.

     
  • Coane & Associates 3:18 am on April 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Mike Childs, Raymond Wei   

    Kroger Files Motion to Dismiss Race/Sex Harassment Lawsuit 

    In a case that our law firm has been handling, the employer, Kroger, has filed a motion for summary judgment seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed. They claim that there are insufficient disputed facts to warrant a trial. The case is pending in US District Court in Houston and is set for trial this summer.

    In this case, our client filed a lawsuit in federal court, claiming that a co-worker harassed her because she is black and female, by among other things, calling her a “nigger.” Store managers, Raymond Wei and Mike Childs, have signed statements on behalf of Kroger’s motion.

    Co-manager of the Kroger store (in Sugar Land, Tx), Raymond Wei, verifies that our client complained about a co-worker using curse words at her, and he notes that a customer verified our client’s complaint. Store manager Mike Childs has verified that the offending employee was disciplined at least one time, yet, his employer still seeks dismissal of the case.

    In their motion, Kroger claims that our client cannot prove sufficient facts to win, so the judge should dismiss the case. This is a common defense tactic in almost every discrimination case. Unfortunately, many times a judge will dismiss the case without the employee-victim ever getting their day in court for a trial. In this case, we plan to respond to the motion with compelling evidence, so hopefully the judge will let our client proceed to trial before a jury.

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    About the author: Bruce Coane is an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law, and, immigration law, with offices in Florida and Texas. He may be reached at houstonlaw@aol.com, 713-850-0066 or 305-538-6800.

     
  • Coane & Associates 12:44 pm on April 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Rosa Lopez   

    90 Years Old is Too Soon to Retire 

    I read a story, recently, in the Miami Herald, which reminded me about one of my clients. The story was about Sister Marie Schramko, the 95 year old assistant principal at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale. The article talked about how amazing it is that she is still working at the age of 95.

    This story reminded me of my client, Rosa Lopez, who at 92 was working as a Registered Nurse at Miami Behavioral Health Center until she was unceremoniously fired after 30 years of service, with no notice and no severance pay. Now, 93, Lopez still desires to work but has been unable to find employment.

    Lopez has filed a federal court lawsuit against Miami Behavioral Health Center, alleging discrimination based on age and disability. In particular, she alleges that her supervisor Ron Espinoza made comments to her that she needed to retire because of her advanced age and medical condition.

    While most of us can only dream of living to age 90 or beyond, it is truly amazing that these two South Florida women, have been able to continue working well-into their 90’s.

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    About the author: Bruce Coane is an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law, and, immigration law, with offices in Florida and Texas. He may be reached at houstonlaw@aol.com, 713-850-0066 or 305-538-6800.

     
  • Coane & Associates 12:52 pm on March 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , religious discrimination   

    Religious Discrimination 

    Religious discrimination is prohibited in the workplace by federal law. This prohibition applies to all employers who have at least 15 employees. The EEOC investigates charges of religious discrimination, and in most cases, takes no further action. Eventually, the EEOC issues a Right to Sue letter giving the employee 90 days to file a lawsuit in court.

    Our law firm, Coane and Associates, represents individuals with such claims, and has done so against such large employers as Chik-Fil-A, Southwest Airlines and others. Attached is an interesting article about a religious discrimination case going to trial this week in California.

    Click the article : Ex-NASA Employee Claims Discrimination for His Beliefs

    __________________________________________________________________________________________________

    About the author: Bruce Coane is an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law, and, immigration law, with offices in Florida and Texas. He may be reached at houstonlaw@aol.com, 713-850-0066 or 305-538-6800.

     
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