Co-authors Marcus Fettinger and Fred Gaona

Discrimination based on sex is illegal. Does that include sexual orientation? It depends on where you live. In Texas, discrimination based on sexual orientation may be inappropriate, but it is not illegal. Elsewhere in the U.S. that is changing, and Texas could soon be impacted as well.

On February 26, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which has jurisdiction over Vermont, New York and Connecticut, ruled that discrimination based on sexual orientation can be sex discrimination. This differs from the view of the Federal Court of Appeals over Texas, creating a division, or “split” across the country. Citizens of different states can now be treated differently under the same federal law and the U.S. Supreme Court does not like it when that happens. For reasons that are easy to understand, the Supreme Court would like the law applied the same across the whole country. 
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The days of the lone landman driving around the back roads taking leases and visiting courthouses are becoming a thing of the past. Though there are still a few independent landmen who fit this mold, clients have demanded change and consolidation. Now there are brokerage firms and other combinations of landmen. It is not a bad thing. It is just different. The fly in the ointment is that the government views landmen who work for these companies as employees and not independent contractors.

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On March 13, 2014, President Barack Obama issued a presidential memorandum directing the Secretary of Labor to “modernize and streamline the existing overtime regulations”.  The Department of Labor (DOL) took action and, in new rules set to become effective Dec. 1, 2016, raised the minimum salary threshold for exempt workers in many categories.  Since then,

Businessman working late signing a document or contract in a dark office with a fountain pen by the light of a lamp, close up view of his hands.

For the last year, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has been working on proposed rule changes related to overtime exemptions. These changes are designed to substantially decrease the number of employees who are exempt from overtime. Today, the Department of Labor released the final rule changes. Employers are required to be compliant with these

On November 17, a federal jury returned a verdict against AutoZone in favor of a single plaintiff for the insane amount of $185,000,000.00 in punitive damages. The plaintiff alleged gender and pregnancy-related harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. On November 19, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California upheld the

The EEOC is back at it! This time it has targeted corporate wellness programs and is challenging the legality of such programs under the ADA. The EEOC contends that the biometric testing and health risk assessments are “disability-related inquiries and medical examinations” that are not job-related and consistent with business necessity and, therefore, violate Title

On September 25, 2014, the EEOC filed lawsuits in Florida and Michigan accusing employers of discriminating against transgendered employees. These are the first two cases ever filed seeking to protect transgender workers under Title VII.

In the Florida Case, EEOC v. Lakeland Eye Clinic,  the EEOC claims that Lakeland terminated an employee, Branson, in

From the time that S. Truett Cathy opened his first Chick-Fil-A in 1946, he made the decision to close his restaurants every Sunday to give his employees “an opportunity to rest, spend time with family and friends, and worship if they choose to do so.”  When I heard the news that S. Truett Cathy passed

A disagreement between two federal appeals courts regarding whether payroll taxes must be paid on severance payments made to laid-off workers has landed the issue in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. Oral arguments began January 14th, 2014.  How the Supreme Court decides the case, called United States v. Quality Stores, Inc., may result in

Last week the Associated Press reported that the EEOC was sanctioned by a US District Court judge for $4.7 million dollars.  The sanctions were awarded because the EEOC brought a number of frivolous and groundless claims against trucking company CRST.

According to the opinion, the EEOC filed a lawsuit in 2007 against CRST alleging