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  • How do I find an employment attorney, FAST?? Texas

    As you can see, I am new, but read and got a lot of info from here over the weekend. How can I find an attorney, specializing in employment law, FAST? I have some questions that need to be answered before Wed, when I will be going on medical leave. Where do I go to search?
    Thanks!
    Virginia

  • #2
    You're not going to find an attorney before tomorrow when you post at midnight. Are there some questions you want to ask here? We might be able to help.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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    • #3
      Attorney referral

      The State Bar of Texas has a lawyer referral service--the referral is to an attorney who is knowledgeable in an area, and is no cost (for the referral). Number is 800-252-9690. Also, www.texasbar.com.

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      • #4
        The only time I did that, it took me 2 weeks just to get a consult. Guess the OP didn't want to ask us.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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        • #5
          I guess not...

          Maybe the op was in such a hurry they couldn't wait for our answer. As we used to tell our customers in tech manufacturing--"You want it good, you want it fast, you want it cheap. Pick Two!"

          I've never gone through the Bar Association for a referral. Seems like I always had an attorney that would take my call, or tell me who I should talk with. Then again, I never had to go looking for a labor lawyer. They used to hide in the bushes to ambush me! Ah, the good ol' days.

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          • #6
            Sorry...

            I have actually been at a dead run for the last 2 days. I guess I couldn't have seen an attorney anyway!

            One thing I just found out-my administrator called my niece, who used to work with us, and said she was "concerned" about me. She then proceeded to "fill" my niece in on things that had been going on at the office with me! She told her that they had to put me on COBRA because my patient load was not high enough. And that I said it was because the patients were not being scheduled but that wasn't true, because there was a backlog of patients needing to be scheduled.

            So, I am maybe thinking too much about patient privacy, but is it illegal for her to discuss my work issues with someone else, especially my niece? I am SO angry I could scream!

            They other issue I originally wondered about was if I went out on disability before the actual date that they were labeling me as part-time, can they mess up my other benefits, like disability and dental?

            I know there is more, but right at the moment, I kinda stopped thinking straight when I fould out about her call and discussion with my niece.

            Ok, any ideas or advice here?

            Thanks for all your suggestions. I did actually check out the Dallas Bar Association site and they do have a referral service that I may need to check out.

            Virginia

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by VGB
              but is it illegal for her to discuss my work issues with someone else, especially my niece? I am SO angry I could scream!

              can they mess up my other benefits, like disability and dental?

              Virginia
              # 1--Scream away, or go to your administrator and tell them that you are concerned that they would talk with someone else about their "concerns". There is no law that prohibits an employer from talking with whomever about the performance of an employee.

              #2--Unless you have a valid contract granting "benefits", they are not required by law, and can be altered by your employer.

              You may be overdue for a talk with your employer about what they want, and what their policies are.

              If there are privacy concerns under HIPAA, I'm going to let someone more knowledgeable about medical employment deal with that, but your post doesn't mention patient privacy, does it?

              Take a deep breath. You can be most effective going in one direction at a time.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hipaa

                When I posted, I kept having HIPAA pop in my head because, in a medical office, we live it everyday. After thinking about it, I DO believe the office manager has violated patient privacy. I am a patient in the practice, so her discussing my emotional state with anyone, much less someone outside the practice, would be considered a violation.

                I'm not sure why it would not be illegal for her to discuss my employment status and changes she had made, etc. When someone is or was an employee and a potential employer calls for verification, only the fact that the person was an employee between these dates is allowed. You cannot discuss problems, etc with them. How is this different, other than this is not a potential employer. She divulged info that I had not given to my niece, not only about my employment status and problems she felt were present, but also about my health. I had not even told my niece about my surgery because I didn't feel like I wanted her to know at the time.

                Thanks for the help!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by VGB

                  I'm not sure why it would not be illegal for her to discuss my employment status and changes she had made, etc. When someone is or was an employee and a potential employer calls for verification, only the fact that the person was an employee between these dates is allowed. You cannot discuss problems, etc with them. !

                  It is not illegal for her to discuss your employment status because there is no law that prohibits it.

                  You are quite mistaken about what an employer is permitted to discuss, under the law. Please give me a cite for the statement that an employer can disclose only ... Again, since there is no law limiting what an employer discloses, this is not a violation of the law. As has been discussed ad infinitum on this forum, employers are able to divulge any information they know, or reasonably believe to be true. This includes opinions, but precludes information the employer knows to be false.

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                  • #10
                    Also, HIPAA laws relate only to medical information.
                    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      "employers are able to divulge any information they know, or reasonably believe to be true. This includes opinions, but precludes information the employer knows to be false."

                      They are also sued ad infinitum, which is the reason rumors/false laws like the one VGB cited above have perpetuated.

                      When I worked as a manager for the GAP some 15 years ago the company trained the exact policy VGB states above. It was a policy though not the law.

                      Unless something has changed over the years, we were not able under law to divulge any information we knew to be false. Everything else was fair game but considered a big no no.

                      We were also instructed not to discuss with any third party, anything non work related in reference to an employee.

                      Defemation and slander suits can and are filed all the time on references where "bad" references are involved. Even though laws have been passed to "protect" the former employers from such suits.

                      "She divulged info that I had not given to my niece, not only about my employment status and problems she felt were present, but also about my health."

                      SOmeone in the know correct me if I am wrong but the in the above quote, unless the company can prove the health information they provided to the neice was common knowledge or non confidential you could bring a case against them?

                      We currently have a case at work for this very issue, which has resulted in suits from 3 different people. 2 employees and 1 who isn't.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Lawsuits--and the law

                        Anyone with $24. (or whatever the filing fee is) can file a suit, and there are a lot of filings that have no merit. And, it is sometimes cheaper to throw money at a nuisance than it is to deal with it in a legal forum, given the dance engaged in by some attorneys, and the vagaries of judges and juries. (Juries don't decide issues of law, you know. They supposedly try issues of fact--although it is mostly perceptions of fact.)

                        For precisely these reasons, and others, the policy and variations that Reagent mentions have been adopted, although they are not legally required. In a lot of cases, the policy is negotiated through an exclusive representative, but that still don't make it the law.

                        The OP did not ask about chances of prevailing, however. VBG's questions, and the ensuing answers, had to do with what the law allowed, or required. The name of the forum is Labor LAW talk, not labor what if, even though we do get afield on possibilities from time to time. Tangents are what makes a day interesting.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Reagent
                          "employers are able to divulge any information they know, or reasonably believe to be true. This includes opinions, but precludes information the employer knows to be false."

                          They are also sued ad infinitum, which is the reason rumors/false laws like the one VGB cited above have perpetuated.

                          When I worked as a manager for the GAP some 15 years ago the company trained the exact policy VGB states above. It was a policy though not the law.

                          Unless something has changed over the years, we were not able under law to divulge any information we knew to be false. Everything else was fair game but considered a big no no.

                          We were also instructed not to discuss with any third party, anything non work related in reference to an employee.

                          Defemation and slander suits can and are filed all the time on references where "bad" references are involved. Even though laws have been passed to "protect" the former employers from such suits.

                          "She divulged info that I had not given to my niece, not only about my employment status and problems she felt were present, but also about my health."

                          SOmeone in the know correct me if I am wrong but the in the above quote, unless the company can prove the health information they provided to the neice was common knowledge or non confidential you could bring a case against them?

                          We currently have a case at work for this very issue, which has resulted in suits from 3 different people. 2 employees and 1 who isn't.
                          1. There has yet to be a sucessful lawsuit in any court in this country where the employer lost because of a truthful reference. Even if you give a name rank and serial number reference you can not guarantee that an employee won't tryand file a frivilous lawsuit anyway. There simply aren't any ways to avoid a meritless suit being filed.

                          2. The health information does not have to be common knowledge. HIPAA only protects information obtained through the administration of a health care plan. The company couldn't look through the claims data, see that she saw an oncologist on such and such date and share with others that she has cancer. However, discussing with someone outside the company behavior that is occurring inside the company is not protected. It may be unprofessional, but it is legal.

                          There have been a few times when an employer of mine has needed to call the family member of an employee to alert them to problems at work. Sometimes family isn't aware of the problems someone is having.
                          I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ElleMD
                            1. There has yet to be a sucessful lawsuit in any court in this country where the employer lost because of a truthful reference. Even if you give a name rank and serial number reference you can not guarantee that an employee won't tryand file a frivilous lawsuit anyway. There simply aren't any ways to avoid a meritless suit being filed.
                            In theory, I agree with Elle. However, no one can state that they are aware of every lawsuit filed against employers based on this very issue nor is everyone's definition of "successful" the very same.

                            I think it is quite possible that an employer has provided the very truthful, yet damaging reasons that an employee was discharged; subsequently, the employee files a lawsuit and/or sends a demand letter as a result; and finally, the matter is settled by both parties versus engarging in lengthy and expensive litigation.

                            Under the above circumstances, I think the hypothetical employee would deem his/her action againt the employer "successful." And many persons would not be in the know.

                            It is the very reason that I think it is best practice to provide dates of employment and other innocuous information only.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I am speaking of court recognized sucesses. There has not ever been a definitive court decision that held the employer legally responsible for a truthful reference.

                              Since a settlement to make the person drop the claim has no bearing on whether or not there is any merit to the suit, and an employee could bring a suit and the employer settle even if the employer was 100% in the right or if the employer only provided dates, title and salary, it really isn't fair to say nuetral references are best. In fact, there have been cases where just the opposite was true. The employer gave a positive reference and the person had been terminated for cause that presented a problem to the new employer. The new employer sued the old one for providing false information.
                              I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

                              Comment

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