The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects you from the government interfering with your speech – meaning you can typically express opinions (even if they are offensive) without being arrested or charged with a crime. But that does not mean you can say whatever you want online without suffering consequences.
There is a common misconception among employees that you cannot discuss your pay with others. In fact, employees’ right to discuss their salary is protected by law. While employers may restrict workers from discussing their salary in front of customers or during work, they cannot prohibit employees from talking about pay on their own time. In this article, we will answer the most frequently asked questions about salary discussions. We’ll also review the laws that protect salary discussions, as well as their exceptions and limitations. Let’s start by answering the most important question, “Can employers prohibit workers from discussing pay?”
On March 2nd, Governor Abbott officially repealed Texas’ statewide mask mandate with an executive order, effective March 10. Many Texans and leaders of other states have criticized the measure. A Progress Texas poll found that Texans are almost evenly split on Texas’ re-opening and the repeal of the mask mandate. However, major metro areas like Dallas disapprove of the repeal by wide margins—likely because the more populated areas have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every facet of American life – and every facet of U.S. law to boot. As employee rights lawyers, we have seen the myriad ways coronavirus has impacted workers. Regulatory violations are on the rise and employees are blowing the whistle (where we get the term “whistleblower”) on corporate fraud and wrongdoing.
Employers and employees alike have had to comply with evolving health protocols as the world has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic. You have likely learned a number of new medical terms, been informed about symptoms, screening methods, and followed the rush to get most of the world vaccinated. One new term to add to our collective vocabulary is “antibody test.”
After months of partisan deadlock, Congress finally passed a new coronavirus relief package at the eleventh hour (narrowly avoiding a government shutdown and a lapse in benefits for many Americans). While the direct payments portion of the bill was covered (and fought over) extensively, many are unaware of the provisions of this second relief package. In this article, we will break down the six main components of the new relief package:
A few months ago, we outlined what each presidential candidate’s platform meant for employees. With President Joe Biden now sworn in as president, we’ll now take a look at the potential implications for employees as a result of Biden’s pick for labor secretary. While COVID relief has dominated the news, we would like to take a look at the labor policies that are likely to come to fruition now that Democrats control the White House, House of Representatives, and the Senate.
Whether you are returning to work or have been working since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, you probably have questions about safety. It is important that your employer take precautions to ensure the safety of all employees, as well as customers, if they want to re-open a brick-and-mortar location.
As vaccines for COVID-19 begin rolling out across the country, many employees may be asking whether their employers can mandate vaccinations in order to return to work. Because COVID-19 has devastated the U.S. and global economy, the vaccine has the potential to restore the millions of jobs lost to the still-raging pandemic. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, however, about a quarter of Americans are reluctant to take the vaccine. Depending on where those reluctant Americans work and live, their resistance could hamper the ability to get the pandemic under control and return Americans to work.
In the simplest possible terms, contact tracing is a way of tracking all the individuals who have come into contact with an infected or contagious person. Given the current pandemic, contact tracing – and particularly contact tracing apps – have grown in popularity as countries are trying to find safe ways to return to a state of normalcy. While contact tracing apps may seem brand new, contact tracing as a public health strategy is nothing new. It has been used successfully to reduce outbreaks since the 1930s. Many health experts claim that contact tracing is the key to safely reopening.
Jackson Spencer Law was recognized by the annual list of “Best Law Firms,” published by Best Lawyers® and U.S. News & World Report. The firm’s appearance on the 2021 edition marks its seventh year of selection to the rundown of the country’s top law firms.
UPDATE: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently published guidance on this issue. Please see our December 22 blog post for up-to-date information on the question of mandatory vaccines. In May, Operation Warp Speed, a program with the goal of producing “300 million doses of safe and effective vaccines with the initial doses available by January 2021,” was officially announced. We are now rapidly approaching the January deadline – and it does appear that a vaccine is coming soon. For many employees, the possibility of a vaccine begs the question whether employers can mandate vaccinations in order to return to work....
The election countdown is on and we think it is important for workers to know where each Presidential candidate stands with respect to workers’ rights. Each candidate has a multitude of proposed policies that, if implemented, would undoubtedly impact employees. We’d like to provide a brief rundown of those policies in this article.
Health, wealth, and happiness: It’s what most of us strive for. But 2020 has made attaining each especially hard. Many have lost their jobs, their income, and experienced depression at staggering rates. If you have been fortunate enough to keep working throughout the pandemic, you probably have another concern: staying healthy while interacting with others that could potentially expose you to a deadly virus.
Employment attorney Jennifer Spencer has been named to the 2021 list of Best Lawyers for the seventh consecutive year. Ms. Spencer, founder of Jackson Spencer Law, has built her practice on advocating for employees who are experiencing difficulties in the workplace.
Based on our own personal experiences at the firm, it seems employees have some misconceptions about age discrimination, and I can see why. It’s easy to assume that a person in their 40s – likely at the prime of their career – would not fall victim to age discrimination. However, in industries that skew younger (like tech, for instance) it happens more often than we might think.
When the CARES Act was passed in March, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provided $659 billion in crisis funds for businesses affected by coronavirus-related quarantine measures. So many businesses applied for PPP loans that the first round of funding was exhausted within 13 days! With most businesses unable to earn income during mandated closures, the PPP was designed to help businesses continue to pay their employees. The goal was to keep employees earning at least 75% of their normal weekly pay. At Jackson Spencer Law, we represent employees who have questions about their workplaces’ responses to COVID-19. Visit our services...
As an employee rights attorney, I am ecstatic to share the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Thanks to this new decision, federal workplace discrimination protections now extend to LGBTQ employees.
We are heartbroken over the brutal deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and all the others who have lost their lives to senseless racism. As employee rights attorneys, we have seen racial discrimination in action, and we fight for everyone to be treated with the fairness and dignity they deserve. We also stand with the peaceful protestors and activists seeking long overdue changes.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) went into effect on April 1 and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) gave employers until April 18 to comply with the law, after which employers who fail to comply will face DOL enforcement actions and could be subject to individual lawsuits.
With the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), employees have questions about what the law does and doesn’t provide to those impacted by the coronavirus and COVID-19. In this article we’ll answer 7 of the most pressing questions employees face while the U.S. prepares for (and deals with) this historic contagion.
Proving sexual harassment in the workplace can be exceptionally difficult. When confronted, virtually all harassers claim that harassment never occurred or that their words or actions were taken out of context. Few, if any, people readily admit that they have engaged in harassing behavior.
As Texas employment lawyers, we were some of the first in line to see “Bombshell,” the star-studded film about allegations of sexual harassment against former Fox CEO Roger Ailes and the toxic workplace he oversaw at Fox News. Even though the movie refers to itself as a “fictionalized account” of the behind-the-scenes happenings at Fox, we couldn’t help but notice the realistic depiction of workplace sexual harassment.
Are you facing workplace discrimination based on a disability or your age? Perhaps you’ve been working for your employer a long time, only to discover that with age, your health has declined. Many employees facing health challenges fear discussing their concerns with their employer. However, if you’re having difficulty performing your job due to a disability or age-related health condition, you have rights.
Few things are as disheartening as the realization that your company might be preparing to fire you. You might want to stop working, lash out, or confront your supervisors. Here’s what to do if you think your termination is around the corner – and what not to do if you suspect you may be getting fired. (For more information, see our original blog post here.) If you suspect you’ve been or are about to be wrongfully terminated, contact Jackson Spencer for a consultation.
Since Congress launched an impeachment inquiry against President Trump in September, there’s been a lot of talk about whistleblower protections filling the news cycle. Even Texas Republican Will Hurd has expressed the importance of keeping whistleblowers’ identities confidential to encourage exposure of corruption.
Age Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation If you’re over the age of 40 and think you’ve been treated less favorably in the workplace, you have rights. Read on to learn the top 3 things you need to know about age discrimination.
Employee rights advocate and Jackson Spencer Law founder Jennifer Spencer has been selected to the 2019 Texas Super Lawyers list for her work in plaintiff’s employment litigation. This year marks Ms. Spencer’s eleventh anniversary appearing on the list of the top attorneys in Texas.
Jackson Spencer Law founder Jennifer Spencer has been selected for inclusion in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America© for her work in commercial litigation. This year represents the sixth consecutive year that Ms. Spencer has been included on the list, which is based on a peer-review system.
Pregnancy can be both exciting and overwhelming. Losing a job or facing discrimination while pregnant is stressful and frightening for any mom-to-be. In 2018, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) awarded $16.6 million in monetary awards for pregnancy discrimination charges, a substantial increase from years past. If you feel you are being treated unfairly due to pregnancy or childbirth, you have rights.
Unfortunately, it is all too common for retaliation to follow a claim of harassment or discrimination in the workplace. In fact, retaliation claims are on the rise: 57 percent of charges received by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in Texas were for retaliation.
Understanding a Severance Package Losing a job, especially when unexpected, is a nightmare for most employees. Worrying about finding another job, paying bills, and covering health insurance premiums between jobs stresses any employee who has been terminated or laid off. Fortunately, you can reduce these fears by educating yourself on severance pay basics long before the need arises. Arm yourself with knowledge so that you will know how to respond if the worst occurs. Many employees have been led to believe that severance packages are rare, but according to a recent study, 97 percent of U.S. businesses reported offering some form of severance to...
Realizing you have been discriminated against at work can be distressing, but there are several steps you can take if you believe you have a discrimination claim. Do you have a disability, and do you notice that non-disabled people always seem to get promoted even though you have been with your company longer and receive similar or better performance reviews? Are you Hispanic, and your non-Hispanic coworkers are always invited to crucial meetings, but you are not? Was part of your sales territory given away after you told your boss about your pregnancy? While some forms of discrimination are easy...
With the exception of a few people, almost everyone has a connection to social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snapchat (just to name a few) can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. However, your behavior on social media can directly affect your relationship with your employer, so it’s important to know your rights. Can my employer really control what I post on social media? While you have ultimate control over everything you post on social media, employers are well within their rights to create social media guidelines for their employees. Some common guidelines...
Maybe you heard layoffs were happening around the company, and your boss has been surprisingly distant with you. Maybe you saw your position posted on a job search engine. Maybe you have been unfairly treated since you complained about discrimination or took FMLA leave. Or maybe a coworker let it slip: they’re letting you go. Few things are as disheartening as the realization that your company might be preparing to fire you. You might want to stop working, lash out, or confront your supervisors. Here’s what to do if you think your termination is around the corner – and what...
Maybe your boss let it slip that the company didn’t report everything it should have to the IRS, or maybe you came across a document that revealed your employer is stealing from its clients. While it might be daunting to think about the possibility of reporting your employer for wrongdoing, there are laws to protect those who report unethical or illegal behavior. These protective laws are called whistleblowing laws, and it can be illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for reporting unlawful behavior. Scroll to the end of this post for a list of many of the laws...
Two of the most common questions we are asked are “how do I improve my severance agreement?” and “how do I obtain severance?” While every situation is different and there is no simple answer, we have outlined below five of the steps we undertake in a severance negotiation. While you execute this plan, make sure you sign nothing until you read and understand the whole thing and know your rights. STEP ONE: Decide on Your Goals This can be one of the most important steps. You need to know what you want so that you can go out and try...
Employers are not required to offer severance payments to employees they lay off or terminate, unless there is a specific employment contract or company policy requiring the payments. Since most employees are “at will,” the employment relationship can be ended by the employer or the employee for any reason except an illegal reason. Why then would an employer offer to pay severance when it does not have to? Companies often say that severance is being offered to assist employees with their transition out of the company and to help them while they look for another job. That may be true,...
On March 4, 2019, a federal district court overturned President Trump’s efforts to curtail regulations designed to combat employment discrimination and pay disparity. U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of the District of Columbia reinstated President Obama’s executive order requiring large companies to submit data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regarding their employees’ gender, race, ethnicity, and salary. This ruling is a huge win for equality proponents everywhere. For a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer, contact Jackson Spencer Law at firstname.lastname@example.org, 972-301-2937, or complete our online intake form. Here’s a little history on the fight for...
From individual honors for name partner Jennifer Spencer to firm-wide awards for their work in labor and employment law, here is a sampling of the recognitions recently earned by Jackson Spencer Law: Best Lawyers in America: US News & World Report: Jennifer Spencer – 2016-2019 Best Law Firms: US News & World Report: 2016-2019 American Institute of Legal Counsel: 10 Best Client Satisfaction Award – 2017-2018 American Institute of Legal Counsel: 10 Best Labor and Employment Attorneys – Texas – 2018 America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators: Jennifer Spencer – 2018 Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters): Jennifer Spencer – 2017-2018 Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters): Jennifer...
Laid-off employees are often worried that their former employer will retract the original offer if they ask for increased severance or better terms. While it is technically possible that the company could withdraw the offer, it rarely, if ever, happens. A few have ultimately refused to negotiate, but virtually all have extended the time period for the former employee to accept the original offer. For a free consultation with an experienced severance negotiation lawyer, contact Jackson Spencer Law at email@example.com, 877-239-6274, or complete our online intake form. Why don’t employers withdraw their original offers when an employee demands more money? Companies...