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Lawsuit: Texas county government failed to stop sexual harassment

There are many ways an individual can feel threatened in the workplace. When it comes to sexual harassment, a man or a woman may allege a superior or other employee has behaved inappropriately. These cases can become extremely complicated, especially when it comes to clearing a business of any wrongdoing. As one recent lawsuit illustrates, harassment cases are rarely cut-and-dry.

A female Galveston County Constable allegedly repeatedly harassed her deputy constable, a 51-year-old man, over the course of six months. The man resigned his post in 2011 after a district attorney launched an investigation against him, claiming that he was trying to gain evidence of sexual harassment. The former deputy constable was not found to have done anything wrong, and in 2012, he filed a suit against the county for his former boss’ alleged actions.

Texas restaurant accused of “Ricky Bobby” trademark infringement

Many business owners smartly take advice from other professionals who have had success in their industry. Instead of recreating the wheel, so to speak, Harris County executives use the same sound business practices as their peers. While this is typically acceptable in a general sense, an individual can run into business disputes if he or she capitalizes on the intellectual property of another organization. A recent lawsuit in Texas illustrates that point.

In 2006, Columbia Pictures released a movie called “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.” The story follows a man, played by Will Ferrell, who becomes a NASCAR driver. In the second-highest opening weekend ever for an original comedy, the movie raked in $47 million and continues to bring in money through DVD sales.

Texas employer facing litigation due to alleged discrimination

There are many cases that will prompt an employee to allege discrimination. Houston companies typically have policies in place that prevent wrongdoing in the form of harassment or wrongful termination. Despite a business’ best efforts, there are times in which a worker can bring a lawsuit based on something a manager said or the way he or he was let go from the company. In those instances, it is important for the organization to present information supporting its actions.

According to Wal-Mart, a man from Keller was hired when he was 49 years old and then promoted to store manager when he was 53. A company spokesman notes that Wal-Mart gave the man a leave of absence when he let his employer know that he had been diagnosed with diabetes.

Lawsuit: Texas worker gave confidential information to competitor

A company puts a number of measures in place in order to protect its assets. Insurance policies and an employee handbook, for example, are recommended for many Houston businesses. Unfortunately, despite best efforts, some organizations still fall victim to cases involving the theft of trade secrets, which can be particularly damaging to business. One Texas company is now pursuing litigation against an employee who allegedly gave away confidential information to a competitor.

A supervisor with a chemical inspections company was privy to certain trade secrets through working in his role maintaining and overseeing field operations. According to the company, the employee gained knowledge regarding confidential information. The man left the company to take a job with a competitor and, according to a court complaint, gave away trade secrets to his new employer.

Woman: Pregnancy sparked Texas-based company’s discrimination

When a woman becomes pregnant, she faces a number of restrictions. There are certain items she cannot eat and certain activities she needs to avoid. Carrying a child can have repercussions in a Texas workplace as far as changing a woman’s ability to perform her job to the fullest. The way a company handles these situations is imperative, as a misstep could lead to the woman claiming employment discrimination. A recent case reminds us that these claims can turn into full-blown court cases.

In 2008, a woman in Iowa became pregnant while working for a Texas-based chain store. The woman had a doctor’s note claiming that she could not lift more than 20 pounds. The company had a policy in place that it would not accommodate temporary health conditions that were not related to a work incident. Therefore, she was given the choice to be terminated or go on unpaid leave, and she chose to go on leave.

Houston's booming industrial market attracts buyers

Business owners interested in physically expanding or otherwise growing their company often turn to shopping for real estate. A new building means more space for inventory or offices. It can even be an investment to attract new clients. Thanks to a booming industrial market in Houston, commercial real estate in the city is becoming a commodity.

According to Commercial Gateway, which a division of the Houston Association of Realtors, the city’s industrial sector grew last year. That growth is expected to continue, according to the report. There is a
7.1 percent vacancy in the local industrial market, which is higher than the 6.7 percent rate from last year. Commercial Gateway also reported that manufacturing space has the lowest vacancy at 5.2 percent.

Contract dispute embattles Texas freelancer

Many people work as freelance contractors, especially when it comes to creative work. With emerging technologies and the need for subject-matter experts, many Houston businesses turn to individuals who can work on a short-term or project basis. If one party does not hold up their end of the bargain, it can result in complicated contract litigation, as one Texas man is now realizing.

In 2012, an Aspen resident hired an Austin man to develop an application for a smartphone. The terms of the contract mandated the work be done in less than six weeks and the compensation would be $17,000. Of that sum, $10,000 would be paid up front. The application, dubbed “Private Text,” would enable users to send encrypted text messages that would be untraceable and erased immediately.

Texas termination case illustrates the need for representation

There are certain laws that govern businesses when it comes to hiring and firing employees. Even when companies in Houston follow regulations and good human resources practices, there are people who will threaten with a wrongful termination claim. It is helpful for companies to have an attorney they can turn to when such situations arise. Details surrounding such claims are usually not cut and dry, as one recent case highlights.

A housekeeper from Bowie was working overnight at a nursing center with another co-worker when he began telling lewd stories while on a break. The woman said that she and several of the residents at the nursing center were offended by the stories her co-worker was telling, and she reported the incident.

Partnership dispute embattles Texas oil companies

No matter what size a business is, many find the need to work with other businesses. It could be merely having a relationship, making things more official on a contract level or even engaging in a partnership. Depending on the route that is chosen, a Texas owner could find him- or herself amidst business disputes should there be a disagreement. In one recent case, the argument is worth billions of dollars.

Two Texas-based companies are awaiting a trial that could give outsiders a look at how oil companies in America operate. The businesses had allegedly planned to build a pipeline from the oil hub of Cushing to Houston for refinement and shipping. One of the companies, a Dallas-based energy provider, claims that its partner and another organization conspired to cut them out of the project.

Favorable predictions for 2014 real estate market in Houston

It wasn’t that long ago that real estate investments in Texas and the rest of the nation were considered risky. The market was extremely volatile after the economic downturn in 2008. Now, however, Houston is in the midst of an economic boom and residential and commercial real estate investments alike are very appealing.

According to the “Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2014 Report” published by the Urban Land Institute, Houston is ranked as the number one market in the United States for both investment real estate as well as apartments, with luxury apartments especially desirable. The city took second place honors for home-building prospects and is ranked as the third best city in the nation for development. A number of large companies are moving their headquarters to Houston is, in part, driving the population growth and real estate boom that Houston is experiencing. Overall, the real estate market in 2014 is predicted to be the best in recent years and is ranked as the second best in the nation.

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