The FTC’s Noncompete Ban: a Complete Guide

The FTC’s Noncompete Ban: a Complete Guide

On April 23, 2024 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a new rule that declares noncompete agreements as unenforceable nationwide. Lawsuits seeking injunction are already being brought against the FTC which could push back the effective date of this rule, so this will be a situation to monitor closely. Here’s what we know about the noncompete ban so far. Skip ahead to: Who does the noncompete ban apply to? When would a noncompete ban go into effect? Why did the FTC want to ban noncompetes? What are the benefits? As an employee who signed a noncompete, what should I do?...

Supreme Court Decision Makes It Easier To Sue For Workplace Discrimination Involving Forced Job Transfers

On April 17, 2024, the Supreme Court delivered a big win for workers and workplace equality, making it easier for workers transferred from one job to another against their will to pursue job discrimination claims (including those based on sex, race, religion or national origin) under Federal Civil Rights law. This also includes instances where workers are not demoted or docked pay.  We’re going to dive into the background of this case below and explain what this means for workplace discrimination claims moving forward. A Job Transfer Based on Discrimination The case on everyone’s radar right now was brought by...

Legal Definition and Examples of Sexual Harassment

Definition of Sexual Harassment Sexual harassment can happen in many different ways, and typically the harasser takes advantage of the gray areas in the boundaries of social interaction at work. That’s why it’s important to know the legal definition of sexual harassment and become familiar with examples of what the law considers to be sexual harassment. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (or EEOC) states the following legal definition of sexual harassment: “It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include ‘sexual harassment’ or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual...

Does Severance Pay Stop If You Find Another Job?

So your previous employer went through a layoff / reduction in force, and now they’re paying you severance payments. Do those severance payments end when you find a new job? The short answer is: it depends on the terms of your severance agreement.  Let’s break down the possible scenarios to help you plan your next move carefully.   How Does Severance Pay Work? In Texas, and the US in general, companies are not legally required to offer you severance pay. But some companies include a severance provision in your employment agreement, and others may offer severance packages at the time...

Contingency Lawyer for Employees: Understanding How a Contingency Fee Arrangement Works

In the realm of legal services, particularly in employment law, you may come across attorneys who offer to take your case on a contingency basis. This can be a critical option for clients who need legal representation but are concerned about the costs. But what exactly does this mean? This blog aims to demystify the concept of contingency fee arrangements and help you understand what to expect when entering such an agreement with a lawyer.   What Does it Mean When an Employment Lawyer Takes Your Case on a Contingency Basis? A contingency fee arrangement is a payment structure where...

How Long Does It Take to Get Your Severance Pay?

If you’re curious about how long it might take to receive your severance pay, you’re not alone. Many people find themselves suddenly out of work and searching for a new job. You could be concerned about your immediate financial future and all the anxiety that is likely to come from very understandable fear, uncertainty and doubt. Let’s reduce that stress—  this article will discuss what you can expect when waiting on severance pay as you transition between jobs.  Fundamentals First  Before diving deeply into Severance Pay Length, let’s first be clear on what severance pay actually is. Severance pay refers...

Hiring Discrimination: How to Protect Yourself

Getting a rejection email from a job application hurts, but if you’re denied a job—or even denied an interview—because of your race, age, gender, or religion, you may have just encountered hiring discrimination. Hiring discrimination laws protect applicants, not just employees, but it can be difficult to recognize this subtle and common form of discrimination.   Just like the “boy who cried wolf,” we have a widespread cultural myth that people are too quick to claim discrimination. Contrary to that cultural narrative, those who come forward with claims of discrimination often grapple with the decision to come forward and call out...

U.S. Supreme Court Says Texas Not Immune to Military Discrimination Suit

A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling expands the rights of military and veteran employees who may have faced discrimination while employed by state governments. In Torres v. Texas Department of Public Safety, 142 S. Ct. 735 (2021), the Supreme Court ruled that state employers can’t use sovereign immunity to avoid complying with a military anti-discrimination law.

Man With Anxiety Disorder Awarded $450,000 For Forced Birthday Celebration

A jury recently awarded a man with an anxiety disorder $450,000 after his employer failed to heed his warnings about celebrating his birthday. The man had requested that the company not celebrate his birthday out of fear that it would cause him a panic attack and worsen his condition. Unfortunately, the company threw him a party anyway, which caused the man to have a panic attack. Within days, the man was terminated from his position with a letter stating he was being fired “because of the events of the previous week.” Read on to learn how failure to honor ADA...

Ending Forced Arbitration on Sexual Assault and Harassment Claims

In a historic move, President Biden has signed into law legislation ending forced arbitration on sexual assault and sexual harassment. The “Ending Forced Arbitration on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act” (EFA SASHA) was introduced by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and then-Sen. Kamala Harris and quickly gained bipartisan support. This groundbreaking law will help protect victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment by giving them the opportunity to take their cases to court, even if they signed arbitration agreements.

Top 5 Steps to Address Discrimination at Work

Workplace conflicts are an unfortunate part of being in the professional world. Some conflicts, however, are more than just a clash of personalities. In some cases, the treatment by a co-worker or supervisor is patently unfair, and possibly even workplace discrimination. If you are facing unfair treatment at work — even if it’s not legally discrimination — here are our top 5 steps to address discrimination at work: Attempt an amicable resolution Report the conduct Call it what it is: discrimination Put the discriminatory treatment in writing Keep records of the discriminatory treatment

How to Respond to Workplace Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a serious crime, and especially when experienced in the workplace, it can leave a victim wondering how to navigate a way to safety… and justice. In this article we’re going to show you where the line is drawn between sexual harassment and sexual assault, what to do if you are sexually assaulted at work, and why you want an experienced workplace sexual assault lawyer on your side.

How to Ask for More Severance

If you have been laid off, or you suspect layoffs are around the corner, it’s important to know that you can negotiate a better severance package at any point during your employment. Such a package can help sustain you while you look for another job. Whether you have been offered a severance package or simply want to negotiate a better exit package preemptively, here is our guide to asking for more severance:

Filing a Sexual Harassment Claim in Texas Just Got Easier

While the media has been focused on surging cases of the Delta variant throughout Texas, two stellar pieces of legislation slipped under the radar that have impacted sexual harassment claims in Texas. As of September 1, two new laws that stand to dramatically affect victims of workplace sexual harassment went into effect.

Lessons From the Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Lawsuits

On June 30, 2021, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the conviction of well-known comedian (and once “America’s father”) Bill Cosby. The decision followed decades of litigation and was one of the first major wins of the #MeToo movement. While dozens of women accused Cosby of sexual assault, only one case, Andrea Constand’s, was within the statute of limitations at the time the criminal charges were filed in 2015. Proponents of the MeToo movement are (understandably) worried that Cosby’s release is a step backwards for victims of sexual assault. As attorneys who are well-versed in sexual assault and harassment litigation, we’d...

Amid Pandemic, Some Executives Still Exit with Eye-Popping Severance Packages

In 2019, we wrote about 10 executives who negotiated 24 karat golden parachutes. Little did we know how much the world would change over the next two years. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe and the United States saw steep economic declines as many businesses were forced to shut down in response to the public health crisis. As a result, many corporations that were once a household name filed bankruptcy or shut their doors permanently. However, this hasn’t stopped many executives from receiving the largest severance package possible.

The Top Four Provisions to Look for in a Severance Agreement

If you are terminated and your employer hands you a severance agreement, you’ll want to know your rights before you sign anything. More often than not, severance agreements are drafted by an employer’s lawyer with provisions to protect the employer and not you, the employee. In fact, many of these agreements ask you to give up many of your rights as an employee, such as your right to file a lawsuit or a claim with any employment oversight agencies. While you should still seek the advice of a lawyer before signing a severance agreement, here are the top 4 provisions...

Can Your Employer Prohibit You from Discussing Your Salary?

There is a common misconception among employees that you cannot discuss your pay with others. In fact, employees’ right to discuss their salary is protected by law. While employers may restrict workers from discussing their salary in front of customers or during work, they cannot prohibit employees from talking about pay on their own time. In this article, we will answer the most frequently asked questions about salary discussions. We’ll also review the laws that protect salary discussions, as well as their exceptions and limitations. Let’s start by answering the most important question, “Can employers prohibit workers from discussing pay?”

What Does Governor Abbott’s Mask Repeal Mean for Employees?

On March 2nd, Governor Abbott officially repealed Texas’ statewide mask mandate with an executive order, effective March 10. Many Texans and leaders of other states have criticized the measure. A Progress Texas poll found that Texans are almost evenly split on Texas’ re-opening and the repeal of the mask mandate. However, major metro areas like Dallas disapprove of the repeal by wide margins—likely because the more populated areas have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Why COVID Whistleblowers Need Extra Legal Protection

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every facet of American life – and every facet of U.S. law to boot. As employee rights lawyers, we have seen the myriad ways coronavirus has impacted workers. Regulatory violations are on the rise and employees are blowing the whistle (where we get the term “whistleblower”) on corporate fraud and wrongdoing.

Can Employers Require You to Get Antibody Tested for COVID-19?

Employers and employees alike have had to comply with evolving health protocols as the world has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic. You have likely learned a number of new medical terms, been informed about symptoms, screening methods, and followed the rush to get most of the world vaccinated. One new term to add to our collective vocabulary is “antibody test.”

Congress’s New COVID-19 Relief Package

After months of partisan deadlock, Congress finally passed a new coronavirus relief package at the eleventh hour (narrowly avoiding a government shutdown and a lapse in benefits for many Americans). While the direct payments portion of the bill was covered (and fought over) extensively, many are unaware of the provisions of this second relief package. In this article, we will break down the six main components of the new relief package:

What Biden’s Pick for Labor Secretary Could Mean for Employees

A few months ago, we outlined what each presidential candidate’s platform meant for employees. With President Joe Biden now sworn in as president, we’ll now take a look at the potential implications for employees as a result of Biden’s pick for labor secretary. While COVID relief has dominated the news, we would like to take a look at the labor policies that are likely to come to fruition now that Democrats control the White House, House of Representatives, and the Senate.

CDC & OSHA Guidelines for Returning to Work

Whether you are returning to work or have been working since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, you probably have questions about safety. It is important that your employer take precautions to ensure the safety of all employees, as well as customers, if they want to re-open a brick-and-mortar location.

Yes, Your Employer May Be Able to Require You to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine … But It Depends.

As vaccines for COVID-19 begin rolling out across the country, many employees may be asking whether their employers can mandate vaccinations in order to return to work. Because COVID-19 has devastated the U.S. and global economy, the vaccine has the potential to restore the millions of jobs lost to the still-raging pandemic. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, however, about a quarter of Americans are reluctant to take the vaccine. Depending on where those reluctant Americans work and live, their resistance could hamper the ability to get the pandemic under control and return Americans to work.

Contact Tracing and Employee Privacy

In the simplest possible terms, contact tracing is a way of tracking all the individuals who have come into contact with an infected or contagious person. Given the current pandemic, contact tracing – and particularly contact tracing apps – have grown in popularity as countries are trying to find safe ways to return to a state of normalcy. While contact tracing apps may seem brand new, contact tracing as a public health strategy is nothing new. It has been used successfully to reduce outbreaks since the 1930s. Many health experts claim that contact tracing is the key to safely reopening.

Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policies: Are They Legal in the Workplace?

UPDATE: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently published guidance on this issue. Please see our December 22 blog post for up-to-date information on the question of mandatory vaccines. In May, Operation Warp Speed, a program with the goal of producing “300 million doses of safe and effective vaccines with the initial doses available by January 2021,” was officially announced. We are now rapidly approaching the January deadline – and it does appear that a vaccine is coming soon. For many employees, the possibility of a vaccine begs the question whether employers can mandate vaccinations in order to return to work....

How to Protect Yourself at Work During a Pandemic

Health, wealth, and happiness: It’s what most of us strive for. But 2020 has made attaining each especially hard. Many have lost their jobs, their income, and experienced depression at staggering rates. If you have been fortunate enough to keep working throughout the pandemic, you probably have another concern: staying healthy while interacting with others that could potentially expose you to a deadly virus.

CBS Affiliate Found in Violation of Age Discrimination Protections

Based on our own personal experiences at the firm, it seems employees have some misconceptions about age discrimination, and I can see why. It’s easy to assume that a person in their 40s – likely at the prime of their career – would not fall victim to age discrimination. However, in industries that skew younger (like tech, for instance) it happens more often than we might think.

Is Your Employer Abusing Their PPP Loan?

When the CARES Act was passed in March, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) provided $659 billion in crisis funds for businesses affected by coronavirus-related quarantine measures. So many businesses applied for PPP loans that the first round of funding was exhausted within 13 days! With most businesses unable to earn income during mandated closures, the PPP was designed to help businesses continue to pay their employees. The goal was to keep employees earning at least 75% of their normal weekly pay. At Jackson Spencer Law, we represent employees who have questions about their workplaces’ responses to COVID-19. Visit our services...

A SCOTUS Win for LGBTQ Employees!

As an employee rights attorney, I am ecstatic to share the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Thanks to this new decision, federal workplace discrimination protections now extend to LGBTQ employees.

Racial Discrimination in the Workplace: How to Stand Up for Your Rights and The Rights of Others

We are heartbroken over the brutal deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and all the others who have lost their lives to senseless racism. As employee rights attorneys, we have seen racial discrimination in action, and we fight for everyone to be treated with the fairness and dignity they deserve. We also stand with the peaceful protestors and activists seeking long overdue changes.

Q&A About the Families First Coronavirus Response Act: What Employees Need to Know

With the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), employees have questions about what the law does and doesn’t provide to those impacted by the coronavirus and COVID-19. In this article we’ll answer 7 of the most pressing questions employees face while the U.S. prepares for (and deals with) this historic contagion.

Sex, Lies, and Recording in Texas

Proving sexual harassment in the workplace can be exceptionally difficult. When confronted, virtually all harassers claim that harassment never occurred or that their words or actions were taken out of context. Few, if any, people readily admit that they have engaged in harassing behavior.

The ‘Bombshell’ Movie & Workplace Harassment

As Texas employment lawyers, we were some of the first in line to see “Bombshell,” the star-studded film about allegations of sexual harassment against former Fox CEO Roger Ailes and the toxic workplace he oversaw at Fox News. Even though the movie refers to itself as a “fictionalized account” of the behind-the-scenes happenings at Fox, we couldn’t help but notice the realistic depiction of workplace sexual harassment.

Age and Disability Discrimination & Your Rights

Are you facing workplace discrimination based on a disability or your age? Perhaps you’ve been working for your employer a long time, only to discover that with age, your health has declined. Many employees facing health challenges fear discussing their concerns with their employer. However, if you’re having difficulty performing your job due to a disability or age-related health condition, you have rights.

Do’s and Don’ts of Getting Fired [INFOGRAPHIC]

Few things are as disheartening as the realization that your company might be preparing to fire you. You might want to stop working, lash out, or confront your supervisors. Here’s what to do if you think your termination is around the corner – and what not to do if you suspect you may be getting fired. (For more information, see our original blog post here.) If you suspect you’ve been or are about to be wrongfully terminated, contact Jackson Spencer for a consultation.

Whistleblower Protections in the United States

Since Congress launched an impeachment inquiry against President Trump in September, there’s been a lot of talk about whistleblower protections filling the news cycle. Even Texas Republican Will Hurd has expressed the importance of keeping whistleblowers’ identities confidential to encourage exposure of corruption.

Pregnancy Discrimination: Know Your Rights.

Pregnancy can be both exciting and overwhelming. Losing a job or facing discrimination while pregnant is stressful and frightening for any mom-to-be. In 2018, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) awarded $16.6 million in monetary awards for pregnancy discrimination charges, a substantial increase from years past. If you feel you are being treated unfairly due to pregnancy or childbirth, you have rights.

Severance Pay Basics

Understanding a Severance Package Losing a job, especially when unexpected, is a nightmare for most employees. Worrying about finding another job, paying bills, and covering health insurance premiums between jobs stresses any employee who has been terminated or laid off. Fortunately, you can reduce these fears by educating yourself on severance pay basics long before the need arises. Arm yourself with knowledge so that you will know how to respond if the worst occurs. Many employees have been led to believe that severance packages are rare, but according to a recent study, 97 percent of U.S. businesses reported offering some form of severance to...

I think I have a discrimination claim. What should I do next?

Realizing you have been discriminated against at work can be distressing, but there are several steps you can take if you believe you have a discrimination claim. Do you have a disability, and do you notice that non-disabled people always seem to get promoted even though you have been with your company longer and receive similar or better performance reviews? Are you Hispanic, and your non-Hispanic coworkers are always invited to crucial meetings, but you are not? Was part of your sales territory given away after you told your boss about your pregnancy? While some forms of discrimination are easy...

Social Media and the Workplace

With the exception of a few people, almost everyone has a connection to social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snapchat (just to name a few) can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. However, your behavior on social media can directly affect your relationship with your employer, so it’s important to know your rights. Can my employer really control what I post on social media? While you have ultimate control over everything you post on social media, employers are well within their rights to create social media guidelines for their employees. Some common guidelines...

I Think I’m Getting Fired. What Next?

Maybe you heard layoffs were happening around the company, and your boss has been surprisingly distant with you. Maybe you saw your position posted on a job search engine. Maybe you have been unfairly treated since you complained about discrimination or took FMLA leave. Or maybe a coworker let it slip: they’re letting you go. Few things are as disheartening as the realization that your company might be preparing to fire you. You might want to stop working, lash out, or confront your supervisors. Here’s what to do if you think your termination is around the corner – and what...

My Company is Breaking the Law. What Should I Do?

Maybe your boss let it slip that the company didn’t report everything it should have to the IRS, or maybe you came across a document that revealed your employer is stealing from its clients. While it might be daunting to think about the possibility of reporting your employer for wrongdoing, there are laws to protect those who report unethical or illegal behavior. These protective laws are called whistleblowing laws, and it can be illegal for your employer to retaliate against you for reporting unlawful behavior. Scroll to the end of this post for a list of many of the laws...

5 Ways to Improve Your Severance Package

Two of the most common questions we are asked are “how do I improve my severance agreement?” and “how do I obtain severance?” While every situation is different and there is no simple answer, we have outlined below five of the steps we undertake in a severance negotiation. While you execute this plan, make sure you sign nothing until you read and understand the whole thing and know your rights. STEP ONE: Decide on Your Goals This can be one of the most important steps. You need to know what you want so that you can go out and try...

Understanding A Severance Package

Employers are not required to offer severance payments to employees they lay off or terminate, unless there is a specific employment contract or company policy requiring the payments. Since most employees are “at will,” the employment relationship can be ended by the employer or the employee for any reason except an illegal reason. Why then would an employer offer to pay severance when it does not have to? Companies often say that severance is being offered to assist employees with their transition out of the company and to help them while they look for another job. That may be true,...

In a Win for Employees, Federal Judge Reinstates Obama-Era Fair Pay Regulations

On March 4, 2019, a federal district court overturned President Trump’s efforts to curtail regulations designed to combat employment discrimination and pay disparity. U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of the District of Columbia reinstated President Obama’s executive order requiring large companies to submit data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regarding their employees’ gender, race, ethnicity, and salary. This ruling is a huge win for equality proponents everywhere. For a free consultation with an experienced employment lawyer, contact Jackson Spencer Law at, 972-301-2937, or complete our online intake form. Here’s a little history on the fight for...

Jackson Spencer Law Recognized by Numerous Professional Organizations

From individual honors for name partner Jennifer Spencer to firm-wide awards for their work in labor and employment law, here is a sampling of the recognitions recently earned by Jackson Spencer Law: Best Lawyers in America: US News & World Report: Jennifer Spencer – 2016-2019 Best Law Firms: US News & World Report: 2016-2019 American Institute of Legal Counsel: 10 Best Client Satisfaction Award – 2017-2018 American Institute of Legal Counsel: 10 Best Labor and Employment Attorneys – Texas – 2018 America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators: Jennifer Spencer – 2018 Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters): Jennifer Spencer – 2017-2018 Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters): Jennifer...

If I Ask for More Severance, Will I Lose the Company’s Original Offer?

Laid-off employees are often worried that their former employer will retract the original offer if they ask for increased severance or better terms. While it is technically possible that the company could withdraw the offer, it rarely, if ever, happens. A few have ultimately refused to negotiate, but virtually all have extended the time period for the former employee to accept the original offer. For a free consultation with an experienced severance negotiation lawyer, contact Jackson Spencer Law at, 877-239-6274, or complete our online intake form. Why don’t employers withdraw their original offers when an employee demands more money? Companies...