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  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 4:59 pm on February 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    Judge Releases Orders in Sex Discrimination Lawsuit against Dignity Health 

    Our law firm has been representing a former employee of Dignity Health in a sex discrimination case in U.S.District Court in Phoenix, Arizona.

    The case has been going on for quite some time with a likely trial date for this year. In this case, our client is a male who worked in a 5-person lab at Dignity Health in Phoenix. Our client alleges, and the evidence has shown, that his boss was sleeping with a female co-worker, and then keeping her as a lab employee as he fabricated reasons for letting other male lab employees go. Our client was terminated, in favor of the hospital keeping our client’s boss’s girlfriend, even though our client alleges that he and the other men in the lab were significantly more qualified than their boss’s girlfriend.

    Eventually, the entire lab disbanded, apparently due to lack of funding, with our client’s ex-boss and his girlfriend as the last employees.

    The action that the judge took this week was to warn former OBGYN Department chair at Dignity, Dr. James Balducci, that he must contact our law firm because he ignored a subpoena to appear for a deposition. The judge’s Order states that he’d consider holding the doctor  in contempt of court if he fails to promptly contact us to reschedule his deposition.

    In addition to Balducci being a no-show for his deposition, Dignity Health was refusing to produce documents relating to the termination of the other lab workers. This week, the judge ORDERED Dignity to provide those records.

    Finally, in a common tactic used by company lawyers, Dignity was threatening to send a subpoena to our client’s current employer in Texas, under the guise of needing independent verification of salary, benefits, etc., because somehow the documents we provided and offered to provide just were not sufficient enough. The judge said that Dignity’s lawyer can issue the subpoena, but only if they significantly narrow their request. Either way, it’s certainly the belief of this Houston Employment Lawyer and Miami Employment Lawyer  that this is an intimidation move to scare workers from filing lawsuits, lest their new employer discover that they sued their prior employer.

    For further information, I can be reached at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800, or by email at bruce.coane@gmail.com

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  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 4:05 pm on December 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Home Depot Sued for Job Harassment and Discrimination 

    Our law firm filed a lawsuit last week on behalf of our client, and against Home Depot. The federal court lawsuit alleges job harassment because of our client’s race, national origin and age.

    Our client, age 62, was a happy employee of Home Depot for over 20 years. The staff at Home Depot enjoyed working  with our client and all was well until our client transferred to the Little York store in Houston. There, his store manager was Thomas Willtrout, and that is when the problems began.

    In his lawsuit, our client alleges that Thomas Willtrout, his store manager, told him that he was “old and slow,” and that he “did not know anything about technology.” In addition, Willtrout, who is white, allegedly made fun of our client’s Indian-Carribean accent in front of customers and co-workers. Further, it is alleged that Willtrout would pretend that he could not understand our client whenever he spoke to Willtrout.

    Our client also states that when he asked Willtrout to stop harassing him and making fun of him because of his age and national origin, that Willtrout said, “I’m the f***ing manager, I can do what I want.”

    Following that exchange, our client states that he complained about the discrimination to Mervin Alphonse (District Manager) and Pamela Holland in Human Resources. They apparently initiated an investigation, but Willtrout remained as our client’s manager.

    In May of 2016, our client states that Willtrout confronted him about the complaint to HR and told our client that he is “unhappy about that.” The following month, Willtrout gave our client a written warning, and in August of 2016, Willtrout fired our client, allegedly in retaliation for his complaint to HR and the District Manager. His 20+ years at Home Depot came to a very sad end.

    The lawsuit is currently pending in U.S. District Court in Galveston, with the first hearing set for April 12 of next year. This Houston employment lawyer is representing the worker in his case against Home Depot.

    For further information, I may be contacted at bruce.coane@gmail.com or at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800.

     

     
    • Helen Surovek 2:36 pm on December 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Simply another “ME TOO!” of another category. Outrageous! I LOVE impersonating accents of people I meet in good hearted fun when we can all share a laugh. NOT impersonation for ridicule. A MAJOR difference. As a Manager, one, in my humble opinion, is not a co-worker, per se. Another dimension of co-working authority. Again, in my humble opinion, this is disgraceful! My grandparents had a thick Eastern European accent. As children we were always teaching them the proper pronunciations of certain misspoken words as well as helping them with their cursive and spelling. Simply translated: learning. NO making fun! NOT ALLOWED!
      TO have and use the authority to FIRE someone for exercising their right to report this ‘discriminating’ behaviour to HR is OUTRAGEOUS! Does it not go against the very right of an employee to have a reporting process? If not, WHY HAVE AN HR DEPT at all? Is HR there for compliance only. No true reason, just to exist?
      The person that should be in the line of the fire is the manager that exercised his right to fire. This is an unjust treatment of an otherwise stellar employee of 20 years within the same company. To be told ” old and slow” as well as citing ‘knowing nothing about technology” is also more than inappropriate. Have a learning session with the “old” as they do with the ‘young.’ I’m betting there are systems in place that MUST be learned?
      And…disgraceful to spout “I am the f…… manager. I can do what I want.”
      First of all, the language is unacceptable from ANYONE, especially Management! The culture of Management being able to do ‘what they want’ is NOW scrutinized, as it should be.
      Please have Home Depot accountable. Shameful they are so large HD cannot truly manage and govern their management. Shameful!

    • Coane and Associates,PLLC 5:23 pm on December 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for sharing your insights and thoughts.

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 8:26 pm on November 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Wrongfully Fired for Sex Harassment? 

    On the front page of today’s newspaper, I was reading an article about Matt Lauer of the Today Show, who was the latest well-known man fired for sex harassment. Who will it be tomorrow? No doubt, Human Resource professionals are furiously investigating these claims on a daily basis.

    I have handled sex harassment cases for many years and I have represented men and women who were harassed, and I have also represented the alleged harasser.

    There was a time where this Houston Employment Lawyer would send my female clients for a polygraph exam, if the harasser was denying that he did any of the things he was accused of.  Nowadays, that seems unnecessary, as employers and their Human Resources departments are all jumping on the bandwagon of weeding-out harassers immediately. And, of course, we live in different times where there is typically compelling electronic evidence such as text messages, instant messages, emails, etc.

    I met with a potential client last week who lost his job because a co-worker said he touched her inappropriately.  The man professed his innocence, yet he was terminated the same day.

    It seems that many employers are taking a zero tolerance view and that if anyone complains about sex harassment, the alleged harasser will be quickly fired.

    Earlier this year, I got to meet the woman who wrote the book on sex harassment, Gretchen Carlson, formerly of Fox News. In her book, Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back, she gives encouragement to women who are victims of sex harassment.

    FOXnews

    gretchbook

    The federal laws that deal with sex harassment come from the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and they allow victims of sex harassment to bring legal claims in court, after they first complain to the EEOC. Many of these cases are settled out of court and confidentiality agreements prevent victims from discussing the facts.

    At our Houston employment lawyer firm and also at our Miami employment lawyer firm, we represent victims of sex harassment, as well as victims of false harassment claims.

    For further information, I can be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com or 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800.

     
    • HeKen Surovek, Resltor 10:53 pm on November 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Your posts are always current on topic. Appreciate your share g the legal aspect & civil rights data.
      Thanks.
      Wishing you and yours a Happy Hanukkah!

    • Coane and Associates,PLLC 10:58 pm on November 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you! Happy Holidays.

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 8:01 pm on October 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    October in Miami: A Lawyer’s Perspective 

    Here is the view from the office of this Miami immigration lawyer and Miami  discrimination lawyer, today. Our staff is diligently working on our clients’ immigration and discrimination cases from our Florida headquarters in South Beach.

    IMG_1920

    IMG_1919

    While I will be back in our Houston office tomorrow, I personally prefer the view from our South Beach office. Today, I was working on a couple of our local discrimination cases against Kohl’s Department Store and against Checker’s. We are representing clients before the Miami EEOC in discrimination cases against those two companies. Also, we are working on preparing Summons documents after suing Johnson and Wales University in Miami for allegedly discriminating against our client, a Native American at that school. And, finally, we are working on a lawsuit against the Oppenheimer & Co. for religious discrimination where our Jewish client was allegedly taunted with bagel jokes and other derogatory religious comments before they fired him.

    On the immigration side of our practice, I was so pleased to see the approval of our horse trainer client’s case today. We have been working on that case for ten years and it finally got approved. In these times of America First, it is not easy to be getting foreign worker applications approved. However, in this case of the horse trainer from Mexico, we tested the labor market and were able to prove that there were no available USA workers for the job.

    For further information, I can be reached at 713.850.0066 or 305.538.6800, or via email at bruce.coane@gmail.com

     
    • Anonymous 3:17 pm on October 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      You are the best Mr Coane

    • Jenn 7:54 pm on October 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Great work, Bruce!

      On Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 3:01 PM, Coane and Associates, PLLC wrote:

      > Coane and Associates,PLLC posted: “Here is the view from the office of > this Miami immigration lawyer and Miami discrimination lawyer, today. Our > staff is diligently working on our clients’ immigration and discrimination > cases from our Florida headquarters in South Beach. While I will” >

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 3:42 pm on July 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Immigration Arrests and Raids and Employment Law Update 

    Here is a video of a speech that I gave a few months ago to an overflow crowd in Houston. I was talking about my predictions for immigration raids of churches, hospitals, synagogues, mosques and other places where immigration officials historically would not visit.

    While the video is several months old, some of my predictions are already coming to fruition, where spouses of Americans with no criminal record are being arrested and deported and where according to some of my clients, immigration officials are “rounding-up” foreigners in some of the smaller, more rural areas. With my 30+ years of experience in immigration law, I am uniquely situated to advise individuals, companies and non-federal government agencies on how our laws work and exactly what is going on right now. I have been staying very busy, lately, doing just that.

    In other matters at our office the past couple of weeks, I had the opportunity to visit with clients from some of the smaller countries of Africa, such as Equatorial Guinea, Burkina Faso (formerly known as Upper Volta) and Angola. In addition to providing legal advice to these clients, this Houston immigration lawyer and Miami immigration lawyer always finds it interesting to talk to them about their culture, language, and other aspects of their country.

    On the employment law and employment discrimination law front, I am currently in Phoenix, Arizona for two days of depositions. My client sued Dignity Health in Phoenix, alleging he was fired due to sex discrimination and retaliation. The essence of his allegations are that his boss was sleeping with his co-worker, that Dignity knew about it and allowed it to continue, and when there was a lack of funding, his supervisor chose to keep his female co-worker (the one sleeping with the boss) , rather than my client. In addition to the two days of depositions, I have been enjoying the regional food, the dry heat and 100+degree temperatures, and the sight of all the exotic desert flowers and cactus plants.

    Lastly, it has been a busy month for court hearings on our employment discrimination cases. We went to court twice this month in our client’s case against Wells Fargo, where our client claimed race discrimination, and the bank sued her back for alleging stealing money from the vault. We also had a court hearing in our client’s case against Hobby Lobby, where he alleges he was fired in retaliation for complaining about sex discrimination.

    For further information, I may be reached in Houston at 713.850.0066 or in our Miami office at 305.538.6800. I can also be reached at bruce.coane@gmail.com.

     
    • Helen Surovek 6:18 pm on July 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      LOVE the great work you do, Bruce. Had I had the privilege of higher education, I would have been doing something similar…helping those in need of help. With the know-how to
      maneuver through the maze of our wonderful legal system. Keep up the good work~!

  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 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.

    __________________________________________________________________________________________________

    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 and Associates,PLLC 3:13 pm on January 16, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , violation of Title VII   

    Race Discrimination Case Against Kroger Set for June Trial 

    Our law firm, Coane and Associates, PLLC is currently representing a black female who has worked for over 15 years in one of the largest retail food companies in the United States, Kroger Co., LLP. When our client became an employee of Kroger in 1995, she was well qualified for the position and had been a productive and competent cashier at the Kroger store in Sugar Land, Texas.

    Our client’s lawsuit alleges that she has experienced a hostile work environment, discrimination and sex and racial harassment from a co-worker. Our client alleges that the co-worker (now fired) would call her names (including the “N” word) and stalk her before and after work. What’s worse is that when she reported it to the general manager of the Kroger store, the management still did not take any action about it, claiming that the man was a “special needs” employee, and she should ignore his harassment.

    Our client’s complaints, which she filed on February 2009, include violation of Title VII and Retaliation, and Negligence. She states that she was retaliated against when her work schedule unexpectedly changed to a later shift and her original shift was given to employees with less seniority.

    Interestingly, our client continues to work at the Kroger store in Sugar Land, Texas, notwithstanding her federal court lawsuit against the company. Perhaps the fact that she is a member of a union, allows her job to be protected during the litigation. Trial is set for June 2012 in Houston, Texas.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Bruce Coane is a leading lawyer with 30 years of experience in the field of immigration law and employment law. He may be reached via email at houstonlaw@aol.com or his website at Coane and Associates.

     
  • Coane and Associates,PLLC 11:13 am on August 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , U.S. District Court   

    Our law firm recently settled a sex harassment case 

    Our law firm recently settled a sex harassment case involving male-on-male sex harassment in the work place.

    The case was filed in the U.S. District Court in Victoria, Texas. The lawsuit alleged that the a co-worker grabbed our client’s private parts on various occasions.

    Our client states that he complained to management but they never did anything, saying it was just horseplay. Eventually, our client was fired. He filed a complaint with the EEOC, and then proceeded with a lawsuit. He alleged that he was fired in retaliation for complaining about sex harassment

    The case went to mediation before the lawsuit was filed, but could not be resolved. Following a meeting with the federal judge, the parties negotiated and the sex harassment case was just recently settled, and the lawsuit was dismissed.

    It is important to remember that, in order to preserve a claim for sex harassment, the employee normally must complain to HOUR or to upper level management. The failure to complain could cause the claim to be void. In this case, the employee did complain and, as alleged, the employer failed to take any remedial action.

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Bruce Coane is a leading lawyer with 30 years of experience in the field of immigration law and employment law. He may be reached via email at houstonlaw@aol.com or his website at Coane and Associates.

     
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