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July 2012 Archives

Race Discrimination Case Against Kroger and Use of word "Nigger"

I am preparing for a jury trial in Houston which starts on August 7, 2012. The case involves race discrimination against Kroger, the big supermarket chain in Houston. [caption id="attachment_822" align="alignright" width="247"]Racial Discrimination photo: you-can-learn-basic-employee-rights.com[/caption]Our client claims that she was constantly called "nigger" by her white co-worker. She says that she complained to management and they rarely, if ever, took action. They let him continue working there, she alleges, because he was friends with the store manager.As I prepare for trial, I was discussing how many times we think the word "nigger" will be mentioned in the trial. We even talked about substituting the phrase, "the "N" word", rather than saying the racial slur over and over again. I've had sex harassment and race discrimination cases where other slurs were used, and I always avoid repeating them, but rather say the "f-word" or the "b-word". Wondering what my friends in the blogosphere and on FB think. Should we keep saying "nigger" throughout the trial, or should we say "the N word", instead. Somehow I think the jury will grow tired, and maybe even offended by the constant repetition of the word "nigger". __________________________________________________________________________________________________About the author: Bruce Coane is an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law and immigration law, with offices in Florida and Texas. He may be reached at [email protected], 713-850-0066 or 305-538-6800.

South Beach Maid Wins Unemployment

In a hotly contested unemployment case, our client won her unemployment against the Mondrian Hotel in South Beach. Our client was fired for allegedly stealing $20 from a guest room. She worked as a maid and said she thought the $20 was a tip. There was also a wallet in the room and she never touched it. Her actions were all on videotape because it was a "sting" operation at the hotel, due to other guests complaining of items that disappeared, according to the testimony of the hotel employees. Our client, however, honestly believed the $20, laying on the dresser, was a tip. She testified that many guests left her cash tips. And, when hotel security first confronted her, she admitted to taking the $20.Her unwavering story and honest belief that it was a tip, was enough to win her unemployment hearing. Generally, if there is good cause to fire an employee, they will not receive unemployment. In this case, Attorney Lauren Schlossberg of our Miami Beach office, argued that there was no good cause to fire our client, and the judge agreed.__________________________________________________________________________________________________About the author: Bruce Coane is an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law and immigration law, with offices in Florida and Texas. He may be reached at [email protected], 713-850-0066 or 305-538-6800.

Deportation for Drug Possession?

Today I am preparing for an immigration court trial that takes place later this week. My client is from Honduras and has been a legal immigrant for over 15 years. He has been eligible for U.S. citizenship for many years but never applied. Has he applied and become a U.S. citizen, then he would have not been subject to these deportation proceedings. He was arrested for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. He plead guilty to the lesser offense of possession, but still must fight immigration allegations that he was "dealing." At trial this week, we will need to prove that he was not dealing cocaine, and that the large quantity he was charged with possessing was not his or otherwise not under his control. Fortunately, a law known as cancellation of removal allows a judge to let our client keep his green card (legal immigrant status) if we can prove he's not a dealer and that there are equities in his favor. One final note, and that is, there is mandatory jail detention for any legal immigrant charged with a drug offense other than, perhaps, simple possession of a small quantity of marijuana. So, my client has been in immigration jail for many months, waiting for this trial which will get him released immediately if he wins. __________________________________________________________________________________________________ About the author: Bruce Coane is an attorney who specializes in labor and employment law and immigration law, with offices in Florida and Texas. He may be reached at [email protected], 713-850-0066 or 305-538-6800.

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