Family Medical Leave Act – FMLA Lawsuits and Claims in Dallas and Fort Worth
Dallas and Fort Worth employment lawyer Adam Kielich and The Kielich Law Firm represents and advises clients on FMLA claims. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is an employment law that permits eligible employees of covered employers to take protected leave up to twelve weeks of leave in a twelve month period for a serious medical condition of the employee or the employee’s immediate family member, childbirth and adopting a child. Employers often violate employee’s FMLA rights by unlawfully refusing the employee protected leave, by interfering with the employee’s approved FMLA leave or by retaliating against the employee for requesting FMLA leave. When an employer violates the employee’s FMLA rights the employee can recover lost wages, liquidated damages (similar to punitive damages), attorney’s fees and other financial compensation. The employee may also seek reinstatement to his or her job.
Many employers in Fort Worth and Dallas are antagonistic to FMLA rights. They often believe employees abuse FMLA merely because they exercise their FMLA rights, especially taking intermittent FMLA leave. You can find many resources from Dallas and Fort Worth employment law firms discussing FMLA abuse. Just because employers feel this way does not mean it is true. It does, however, mean there is a high risk that your employer will violate your FMLA leave rights.
If you think your employer violated your FMLA rights then you should contact Dallas and Fort Worth employment lawyer Adam Kielich at The Kielich Law Firm right away. Often when Texas employers violate FMLA they do it at a time when employees are most vulnerable. Time may be of the essence to resolve these problems or sue in the Dallas or Fort Worth courts.
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Minimum Wage, Overtime Pay, Misclassification and Other Compensation Claims
Under federal and Texas law employees must receive minimum wage plus overtime pay unless exempt from those provisions. An employer who fails to pay minimum wage and overtime pay to non-exempt workers steals from its employees. Those employees are entitled to recover lost wages, liquidated damages, attorney’s fees and other financial compensation. These include claims for tipped employees who may be underpaid due to improper tip pool deductions. Employees misclassified as independent contractors or exempt employees are also entitled to recover lost wages, liquidated damages, attorney’s fees and more. Employees may have other compensation-related claims unrelated to minimum wage and overtime protections that can be prosecuted, such as claims for unpaid bonuses or commissions that the employee has earned but the employer refuses to pay.
Fort Worth and Dallas employers often refuse to pay overtime or the right amount of overtime for your work. Dallas and Fort Worth employment lawyer Adam Kielich represents clients in overtime pay claims, tip pool claims and other compensation claims.
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Employee Retirement Plan and Insurance Benefit Claims in Dallas and Fort Worth
Most employee benefit plans are covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) that protects employee benefits earned under covered plans from employer mismanagement. These include 401k and 403b plans, most defined benefit pension plans, ESOPs, health insurance plans, disability plans, employer provided life insurance and so forth. ERISA requires employers to exercise a high degree of care in managing benefits and prohibits the employer from using the benefit plan to its own benefit. When employers violate ERISA provisions by improperly administering the plan or improperly denying benefits the employee is entitled to remedies.
A growing problem with ERISA-covered benefit plans is employers seeking pension overpayment recoveries in which the employer lazily miscalculated a defined benefit pension payment and is now pursuing the retiree to recover payment. These overpayment recovery efforts can put the retiree in financial danger after making employment and retirement plans based upon payment expectations provided by the employer. Defenses are available to these recovery efforts.
In addition to ERISA benefit plans there are a number of non-ERISA benefit plans offered by employers such as stock plans and non-qualified executive compensation plans. Employers are still subject to certain regulations and plan rules with these types of plans and failure to properly administer these plans or make proper payment of benefits may also give the employee or retiree claims against the employer.
Retirement and other benefit plan issues are challenging claims. Few employment law firms handle these claims because they do not understand ERISA and other benefit plan laws. Like many other employment law issues there are often specific procedures that must be satisfied before a lawsuit may proceed against a benefit plan. Dallas and Fort Worth employment lawyer Adam Kielich understands these laws. He helps clients in Dallas and Fort Worth protect their rights under ERISA and other benefit laws.
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Background Checks, Expunctions and Nondisclosure Orders in Texas
Employer background checks are common when applying for new jobs. A criminal record can easily be the difference between obtaining a job or professional license even if the record relates to a conviction or arrest that had nothing to do with the job or license. Texas and federal law limits some of the criminal background an employer or licensing agency can find in a background check but depending upon the license or job the background check may uncover almost anything in your history.
Texas provides some opportunities to wipe out or seal records of unprosecuted arrests and deferred adjudication through an expunction (sometimes referred to as expungement) or nondisclosure order. If your arrest or deferred adjudication qualifies for one of these remedies then I can help you improve your job opportunities by removing this information from employment background checks. Fort Worth employment lawyer Adam Kielich helps clients with employment background check issues.
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Employers are prohibited from retaliating against an employee who takes action to oppose workplace discrimination or assert an employment right like FMLA or a wage claim for overtime pay. Retaliation claims are on the rise in Dallas, Fort Worth and across Texas. Employers often double down on unlawful activity by retaliating against an employee. For example, an employee who suffers employment discrimination and files a complaint with HR might suffer punishment for filing the complaint. The employee has a claim for both employment discrimination and separately retaliation. Even if the employee cannot prove the discrimination claim, he or she may still recover for the retaliation claim.
Fort Worth employment lawyer Adam Kielich helps clients in the DFW area to resolve retaliation claims and take them to court if necessary. For some types of retaliation claims there is an administrative process as part of the retaliation claim so it is a good idea to contact The Kielich Law Firm right away if you believe you have suffered retaliation at work.
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Non-Compete Agreements and Severance Agreements
Non-compete agreements and severance agreements affect your future rights and ability to obtain employment. Not all non-compete agreements are valid under Texas law and reliance on a defective non-compete agreement can severely harm your job prospects. Similarly, severance agreements often include waivers of claims against the employer and often these waivers are made in exchange for sums of money well below the value of a legitimate employment claim. Before signing either a non-compete agreement or a severance agreement you should speak with an employment lawyer to determine your rights under the agreement and whether it is in your interests to enter into the agreement. Contact Dallas and Fort Worth employment law firm The Kielich Law Firm to review the agreement.
Labor Relations, Unions and Other Collective Employment Rights
The National Labor Relations Act is an employment law that gives you the right to work with your coworkers to improve workplace conditions, pay and other employment issues. You can work together with your coworkers through an organized union or through an informal organization. If you are a union worker then your collective bargaining agreement will provide protections beyond the at-will relationship. That can be used in the grievance process with the union or through other legal action, including arbitration and mediation.
Employers often oppose labor rights because employees working together present a stronger front than individual employees. Fort Worth and Dallas workers must understand their rights to work together and recognize when their employers violate those rights. If you believe your employer violated these rights then contact employment and labor attorney Adam Kielich.
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Wrongful Discharge or Wrongful Termination
In Texas a termination creates a claim for wrongful termination under limited circumstances. This generally includes termination in violation of a statute, such as anti-discrimination laws or for complaining of unlawful conduct. There are also wrongful discharge claims available when an employee is fired for whistleblowing on certain unethical or illegal acts. A terminated employee may also have a claim for wrongful discharge in a Sabine Pilot claim. This is a claim when the employee suffers termination for refusing to perform an illegal act at the employer’s direction. A wrongful discharge claim gives employees similar opportunities for financial recovery similar to other employment claims. Learn more about how Dallas and Fort Worth wrongful termination lawyer Adam Kielich can help you recover for your losses.
Wrongful termination in Dallas and Fort Worth