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James Alfred Southerland

James Southerland’s Answers

7 total

  • Will i have to pay back unemployment benefits if already received, if i lose employer appeal in Texas.

    I resigned my job after 12 years due to continued harassment by co worker. Management lied when asked about witnesses. First judge determined i was eligible for benefits due to harassment on the job.

    James’s Answer

    When you say first judge, are you saying the telephonic appeal tribunal hearing or the initial determination made by the TWC? If you have received an initial determination, the employer has the right to appeal the hearing to an appeal tribunal. The appeal tribunal is a telephonic hearing where both sides can present evidence and testimony. While the TWC will say that an attorney is not necessary, the employer may have counsel since you are claiming harassment (thinking you may file a discrimination claim later). For that reason, if they appeal, you may want to speak to an attorney.

    If the last decision was the appeal tribunal decision, the employer can appeal to the three member commission, who will review the evidence at the appeal tribunal and either uphold or reverse the prior decision. This is a written appeal by the employer to the TWC; there is no further oral testimony at that level.

    If the decision is reversed, the TWC could and likely will require you to pay the money back to the TWC. The TWC generally accepts a payment plan. Information about the repayment is on the TWC website.

    Bottom line: If you think that you may lose on appeal, it is probably a good idea to talk to an attorney. Especially if the amount that you have received in unemployment benefits is significant. You should make sure that the attorney has experience in unemployment matters, as they are administrative in nature and the standard of review by a court is limited to whether does a scintilla of evidence support the TWC's final decision (which is much less than the preponderance or beyond a reasonable doubt always mentioned on TV).

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  • In Texas, is it legal for a gas station employer to deduct payment from an employee's paycheck due to a gas drive-off?

    I work graveyard shifts at a gas station (Ranglers/Valero) in Hamilton, Tx. On 08/28/2013 I arrived at 11pm for my shoft and there was a $10 gas drive-off prior to my shift at some point that day. I made a note and included it in my shift report s...

    James’s Answer

    In Texas, for an employer to make a deduction from your pay, there has to be a court order (child support, for example) or a written authorization signed by the employee. From your question, it does not appear that you have signed an authorization to take deductions from your pay. You can file a claim with the Texas Workforce Commission Pay Day Law Division on the TWC website.

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  • EEOC Escaltion Jeopardy 24

    I filed a complaint against my coworkers about racial harrasment and discrimination in the workplace. My employer has 13 employees and their response was they deal with over 15 employees so now what am I suppossed to do. I'm constantly I'll becaus...

    James’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Employers with less than 15 employees are subject to 42 USC Section 1981 which prohibits discrimination based upon race. Courts have construed Section 1981 to also include claims of racial harassment. Under Section 1981, there is no requirement to file a charge with the EEOC and the court may award compensatory and punitive damages. You should discuss this issue in greater detail with a lawyer.

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  • I need to fill out a job application explaining my felony conviction for forgery, what do I write?

    Is there a legal term I can use?

    James’s Answer

    The best advice on an employment application is to tell the truth. You likely will be asked to confirm the truthfulness of any statements and acknowledge that any false statements or omissions could lead to withdrawal of the offer if one is made or termination if you are employed. Most applications also provide that a conviction is not necessarily a bar to employment. You may be asked to explain the circumstances of the conviction and any mitigating factors, as well as your efforts to change your behavior. If the conviction was years ago, the employer may factor in the passage of time. Many states have limitations on how long ago an employer can ask about convictions.

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  • Can my boss ask for my resignation if im looking for another job?

    hi, i told my boss a few weeks ago, that i would be looking for another job and i will give him my 2 week notice if i find something, and he was ok, but now he is asking for my resignation because he say HR take that chat as my NOtice , if im look...

    James’s Answer

    Your boss can ask you to resign. However, you are not required to do so under the circumstances. If you do resign, your employer would argue that you voluntarily quit and, therefore, are not entitled to an award of unemployment compensation benefits. If possible, you may want to indicate that you will give them as much notice as possible before quitting - if you quit. The job search process can be difficult and it is better to have a job in hand before leaving one.

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  • My husband & I relocated to Texas because of a job offer & employer is not living up to promises, what can we do?

    We have the job offer letter, and emails stating other promises (e.g. amount of holidays, relocation compensation with no conditions, health and dental insurance). We relocated to the states solely for this job. The employer promised a lot verball...

    James’s Answer

    There are issues under Texas law, as well as the state/country where you previously lived. Depending upon the jurisdiction, there may be potential fraud and breach of contract claims related to the negotiation and acceptance of the offer. Texas also recognizes a claim for fraud and possibly detrimental reliance. Caveat - if the husband is an "at will" employee (and probably is), continued employment under the changed circumstances may amount to acceptance of the changes as a matter of law. Would recommend providing additional details to an employment lawyer.

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  • Can one sue for damages after signing a job offer, relocating, and then not receiving what was promised in the offer?

    My husband moved to Texas after signing a job offer letter. The employer is altering particular promises, and leaving out particular agreements in the contract. He is reacting negatively when asked about those alterations, and adding more conditio...

    James’s Answer

    There are issues under Texas law, as well as the state where you previously lived. Depending upon the jurisdiction, there may be potential fraud and breach of contract claims related to the negotiation and acceptance of the offer. Texas also recognizes a claim for fraud and possibly detrimental reliance. Caveat - if the husband is an "at will" employee (and probably is), continued employment under the changed circumstances may amount to acceptance of the changes as a matter of law.

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