EMPLOYMENT LAW

Tell Us Briefly About Your Case

August 8, 2018

The following Article originally appeared in the August 3, 2018 Edition of the Hamilton County Herald.  It is reprinted here with the express permission of the author David Laprad.  Photo also by David Laprad.   

How one woman’s ‘victory’ failed to make her whole


By David Laprad

Andrea Herring was changing clothes in the restroom of the funeral home where she worked when her boss began knocking on the door. When she refused to let him in, he retrieved the key and opened it anyway.

As Herring did her best to conceal her nearly naked body, the man stood in the doorway, laughing. To him, it might have been a prank. To Herring, it was a moment of deep humiliation and an indignity that haunts her whenever she enters a similar restroom.

This incident took place in 2013, long before th...

February 14, 2018

On February 2, 2018, a federal court jury in Greeneville, Tennessee, awarded BDP client Andrea Herring over $2 million in damages in a sexual harassment and retaliation case.  BDP attorneys Donna Mikel and Doug Hamill represented Ms. Herring against her former employer, East Lawn Funeral Home, located in Kingsport, Tennessee.  East Lawn Funeral Home is owned by Service Corporation International (SCI), which is the world’s largest provider of funeral and cemetery services.

Ms. Herring was sexually harassed by a male cowork

er, who exposed Ms. Herring and other female employees to sexual jokes, sexual comments, invitations for sex, sexually-inappropriate pictures, and eventually sexually inappropriate touching. Despite her repeated complaints to management, including a regional human reso...

January 31, 2018

We are proud to announce that Frank Pinchak was honored with the Albert L. Hodge Volunteer Award at the 2018 Chattanooga Bar Association Annual Meeting. 

The Albert L. Hodge Volunteer Award is given to an attorney with exemplary volunteer service to the Chattanooga Bar Association and the legal community.  Frank's volunteer work included serving as the Chair of the Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law. 

His work helped expose the illegal predatory solicitation practices by out of state firms in the wake of the Woodmore Elementary bus crash.   

November 29, 2017

With the increase in media awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace, people are becoming more willing to speak up, especially through social media using the #metoo.  

It is important for victims of workplace sexual harassment to know that while there is no time limit on when someone can speak out on social media, the law does impose time limits for individuals who wish to pursue legal action.  There are a number of time limits (45 days, 6 months, 300 days, 1 year) that may apply to your legal claim.  Further, when you were hired, your employer may have required you to sign an agreement shortening your time limit.  It is therefore critical that you seek legal counsel very quickly if you wish to pursue legal action.

It is also important for victims of workplace harassment to p...

February 21, 2017

The California law firm of Allred, Maroko, and Goldberg, along with the Tennessee law firm of Burnette, Dobson & Pinchak have joined together to represent Desaree Haber in her claims against Yates Services, Inc. and Nissan North America, Inc. arising under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The case is pending in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.  Ms. Haber was previously employed by Yates and Nissan as a production associate until she began experiencing medical impairments.  Ms. Haber was later terminated, in part due to Nissan and Yates’ 100% healed policy that indicated that an employee could not work with any medical restrictions.  Ms. Haber was also subjected to unlawful inquiries relating to prescription medications.  The EEOC previously conclu...

August 6, 2015

Last week a Hamilton County Circuit Court jury awarded BDP client Beverly Wilcox a verdict of $931,720 against her former employer, Mapco Express, Inc. The jury found that Ms. Wilcox, who was employed as a convenient store clerk, was fired in retaliation for asserting her workers' compensation rights. In addition to awarding $175,000 in emotional damages and $6,720 in lost pay, the jury awarded $750,000 in punitive damages for Mapco's intentional actions. Ms. Wilcox was represented at trial by Doug Hamill

April 28, 2015

Governor Haslam in early April of 2015 signed into law a new bill that provides a civil remedy to employees fired for possessing a firearm or ammunition in an employer parking area. This new law, now codified as Tenn. Code Ann. §50-1-312, states in relevant part: "No employer shall discharge or take any adverse employment action against an employee solely for transporting or storing a firearm or firearm ammunition in an employer parking area in a manner consistent with §39-17-1313(a)." This new law provides a victimized employee a private cause of action against the offending employer in either chancery or circuit court in the county where the violation occurred. The damages available to an employee include injunctive relief, economic damages, and attorney fees.

To fall within the cove...

April 15, 2015

Reversing a three-judge panel decision finding that telecommuting up to four days per week was a reasonable accommodation, the full Sixth Circuit recently took a harsh line against telecommuting. Describing the plaintiff steel buyer's job as an "interactive" job that requires "interfacing and teamwork", the Sixth Circuit re-stated the old rule that physical attendance at work is generally an "essential function" of every job. Thus, according to the Court, telecommuting would "fundamentally" alter an essential job function. While the Court's opinion was very biased toward employers, it did tacitly provide a blueprint as to situations where telecommuting could be considered reasonable accommodations for disabled employees. For example, the Court recognized that if an employer allows telecomm...

February 1, 2015

Have you missed work due to the flu or cold season?  Do not assume that your illness or that of your family members will automatically qualify you for FMLA.  The FMLA typically defines a cold or the flu as a “minor illness,” depending upon exact circumstances.  Before you assume that you are entitled to FMLA leave, please give us a call.

January 8, 2015

Following several years of prolonged litigation that culminated in an eight day trial, BDP Partner, Eric Burnette, recently obtained a favorable result for his client absolving the client of any and all liability. Mr. Burnette represented a roofing subcontractor that was named as a third party defendant in a construction defect case. The successful defense of the third party defendant utilized expert testimony from both structural engineers and general contractors. The total Judgement in the case for the Plaintiff was roughly $550,000; assessed entirely against the general contractor that asserted the third party claim.

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SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Has your boss or manager made unwelcomed sexual remarks to you?  Has a co-worker touched you in an inappropriate manner?  Have you been subjected to frequent inappropriate jokes and stories despite your repeated requests for such language to stop?  Have you been denied a promotion or raise because you refused to flirt with or have a romantic relationship with your manager?  These are examples of sexual harassment, which is prohibited in the workplace under both federal and state law.

Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. §2000e-2, and the Tennessee Human Rights Act (THRA), Tenn. Code Ann. §4-21-401, prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace. These laws also prohibit retaliation for reporting sexual harassment and equally protect both men and women.

For more information about Title VII's protections against sexual harassment, follow this link to the EEOC's website.

Let the law firm of Burnette, Dobson & Pinchak evaluate your discrimination case. Our attorneys have the years of experience and success in both state and federal courts to represent you in your sexual harassment case. Please call (423) 266-2121 for an appointment today.

Discrimination in the workplace can make earning a living a difficult proposition. Our employment discrimination lawyers are dedicated to protecting our clients' rights and exposing unfair practices.

Discrimination in the working world comes in many forms. Many laws are aimed at preventing unfair practices in the workplace. Age discrimination, sex discrimination, disability discrimination, religious discrimination, nation of origin discrimination, and race discrimination are a few common types of unfair employment practices. Many laws are intended to protect people from unfair discrimination, including the ADEA, ADA, FMLA, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Tennessee Human Rights Act. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) works to combat employment discrimination. Our employment attorneys are familiar with the various rules and regulations concerning workplace discrimination and have litigated employment discrimination claims in both state and federal courts at all levels.

There are many statutes of limitations that may affect the viability of a possible claim.  We cannot describe all of them here, but please know that some of them are very, very short.  In many cases it is necessary to take certain steps to preserve a cause of action well within one year.   

For more information about various forms of workplace discrimination, follow the links below.

Contact us today at (423) 266-2121 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced employment law and employment discrimination attorneys.

AGE DISCRIMINATION

Have you been discriminated against in the workplace because you are 40 years of age or older? Discrimination on the basis of age takes many forms. The discrimination may be the termination of your employment, a failure to promote, a demotion, a failure to hire, or some other discriminatory action in the terms and conditions of your employment. Perhaps you have been retaliated against for opposing age discrimination. Age discrimination is one of the most common types of discrimination in employment today.

The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. §621, and the Tennessee Human Rights Act (THRA), Tenn. Code Ann. §4-21-101, protect individuals 40 years of age and older from being fired, denied employment, denied a promotion, demoted, or otherwise discriminated against in the terms and conditions of their employment because of their age. 

For more information about the ADEA, follow this link to the EEOC's website.  If you believe that you are a victim of age discrimination, call (423) 266-2121 to schedule an appointment with one of our qualified lawyers today.

 
 

GENDER DISCRIMINATION

Are you a victim of workplace discrimination simply because you are a man or a woman? Have you been denied a job because the company wanted a male for the job? Has your boss fired you because he wants a pretty, female for the job? As a female, were you denied a promotion because you are not "one of the boys?" Are you paid less because you are female? These are examples of sex/gender discrimination, which is prohibited in the workplace under both federal and state law. 

Sexual harassment is also a type of prohibited workplace discrimination. Sexual harassment takes many forms. Examples vary from unwanted, repeated sexual comments to termination or denial of promotion for refusing a supervisor's sexual advances.  Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. §2000e-2, and the Tennessee Human Rights Act (THRA), Tenn. Code Ann. §4-21-401, prohibit workplace discrimination because of an individual's sex/gender. These laws also prohibit sexual harassment and retaliation for reporting sexual harassment or reporting gender discrimination. Whether you are a man or a woman, these laws protect you from workplace discrimination, harassment, and retaliation because of sex.  For more information about Title VII's protections against sex/gender discrimination, follow this link to the EEOC's website.

Let the law firm of Burnette, Dobson & Pinchak evaluate your discrimination case. Our attorneys have the years of experience and success in both state and federal courts to represent you in your sex or gender discrimination case. Please call (423) 266-2121 for an appointment today.

 

RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION

Certain types of discrimination against an employee because of his or her religious views violates Tennessee law (Tenn. Code Ann. §4-21-401) and federal law

(42 U.S.C. §2000e). Religious discrimination cases can be very tricky because of the balancing of rights afforded under the law to both employers and employees.

For example, an employee's faith may not allow him or her to work on Saturdays or Sundays. Under the law, an employee cannot be required to work on a certain day if work on that day is against their honestly-held religious beliefs or church doctrine. On the other hand, the law also may protect workplace policies that prohibit displays of religious materials or symbols or prohibit religious discussions during work hours.

Discrimination that falls under religious discrimination should be discussed with an attorney experienced in discrimination laws. Burnette, Dobson & Pinchak has the experience to advise an employee about his or her rights in the workplace. Please contact us at (423) 266-2121 to schedule an appointment.

 

Tell Us Briefly About Your Case

WAGE & HOUR

Are you overworked and underpaid? Do you work more than 40 hours a week and not earn extra income for your overtime? Are you paid on a salary, yet have no management or professional job duties? Is your salary docked when you work less than 40 hours a week? Has your employer instructed you to only write down less than all of your worked hours on your time sheets or pay records? Have you been retaliated against because you asked to be paid for your overtime worked?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201, requires that all employees, other than those who fall within very narrow exceptions, be paid at least minimum wage and overtime for all hours worked over 40 in any workweek. It also prohibits employers from taking negative action against employees who ask for overtime pay. The exemptions to this overtime entitlement are very specific and many employers mistakenly believe that if they pay you a salary, they need not pay you overtime. That is not true unless your job involves the performance of a specified list of job duties.

For more information about the FLSA, follow this link to the U.S. Department of Labor's website.

Whether you are paid by the hour or on a salary, allow us to help assess whether you have been improperly denied overtime or unlawfully paid below the federal minimum wage. Our attorneys have handled a large volume of wage and hour cases and have also handled nationwide collective actions alleging unpaid overtime. Please call (423) 266-2121 for an appointment today.

 

DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION

Are you a victim of discrimination in the workplace because of a disability? Has your employer refused to accommodate your disability? Have you been discriminated against because your employer believed you to be disabled even though you are not disabled? If so, you may be protected by federal and state law.

The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 29 U.S.C. §12101, and the Tennessee Disability Act (TDA), Tenn. Code Ann. §8-50-103, protect employees and job candidates from workplace discrimination. These laws apply to individuals with physical or mental impairments who are qualified and able to perform the essential functions of their jobs with or without reasonable accommodations. These laws also apply to individuals who have no disabilities but are mistakenly viewed as disabled by their employers.

Under the ADA, an employer must make a reasonable accommodation for a job applicant's or employee's disability, unless the accommodation legitimately creates an undue burden on the employer. Reasonable accommodations take many forms. Examples include a new chair, the ability to take more frequent work breaks, and extended leave to receive treatment for a disability. The ADA and its regulations set forth helpful guidelines on how an employer may respond to requests for accommodation.

For more detailed information about the ADA, please visit the EEOC's website.

If you believe that you are a victim of disability discrimination, call (423) 266-2121 to schedule an appointment with one our qualified lawyers today.

 

© 2016 by Burnette Dobson & Pinchak 

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