A Two Day Suspension is Not a Materially Adverse Action – Rules the Fifth Circuit

suspendedThe Fifth Circuit recently addressed whether an employee who was placed on a two-day unpaid leave suffered a “materially adverse action” by the employer such as to allow him to defeat a summary judgment on a Title VII retaliation claim.

In Cabral v. Brennan, a Mexican-American employee in his mid-40s was placed on unpaid leave after he failed to produce a valid driving license requested by his supervisor.  Cabral, who had a history of filing multiple discrimination, harassment and retaliation complaints, claimed that he was placed on leave in retaliation for filing such complaints. The US Post Office, his employer, claimed that he was placed on unpaid leave (and later reimbursed) because his supervisors believed that his license had been suspended for a DWI conviction. 

The Fifth Circuit agreed with the US Post Office and explained that not every unpaid suspension qualified as a “materially adverse action” by an employer under Burlington N. & Santa Fe Ry. Co. v. White, 548 U.S. 53, 68 (2006).  Unlike the plaintiff in White, whose 37-day probation caused her to fall into a deep depression, Cabral failed to show that his suspension exacted a physical, emotional, or economic toll on him. His conclusory statements  attesting to the emotional or psychological harm he suffered because of the two-day suspension, without documentation of any alleged harm, did not provide sufficient evidence of a materially adverse action to defeat summary judgment.

CONCLUSION: Cabral decision clarifies that an unpaid suspension is not a per se materially adverse action.  An employee must show that unpaid leave caused him or her physical, emotional, or economic harm via some documentation and not just conclusory statements in order to establish a “materially adverse action” by the employer. 

Leiza is a business and employment litigation attorney in Dallas, Texas. If you need assistance with a business or employment dispute contact Leiza for a confidential consultation at Leiza.Dolghih@lewisbrisbois.com or (214) 722-7108.

Employers Should Consider Protection of Trade Secrets When Responding to EEOC Charges

imagesWhen responding to an EEOC charge of discrimination, employers should always separate and clearly mark any trade secrets or confidential information included in the position statement to the EEOC. This is especially important in light of the EEOC’s new procedures that provide for the release of employers’ position statements and non-confidential attachments to employees who filed charges or their representatives upon request during the EEOC investigation.

The new procedures apply to all EEOC requests for position statements made to employers on or after January 1, 2016.

During the investigation of a charge, the EEOC may request that the employer submit a position statement and documents supporting its position. The statements should discuss the facts relevant to the charge of discrimination and identify the specific documents and evidence supporting the position. See my previous posts on how to draft a position statement here, here, and here.

If an employer relies on confidential information in its position statement, it should provide such information in separately labeled attachments. After the EEOC reviews the employer’s position statement and attachments on a specific charge, the EEOC staff may redact confidential information as necessary prior to releasing the information to a charging employee or his or her representative.

According to the EEOC:

The position statement should refer to, but not identify, information the [employer] asserts is sensitive medical information, confidential commercial or confidential financial information.  If the [employer] relies on confidential information in its position statement, it should provide such information in separate attachments to the position statement labeled “Sensitive Medical Information,” “Confidential Commercial Information” or “Confidential Financial Information,” or “Trade Secret Information” as applicable.  The [employer] should provide an explanation justifying the confidential nature of the information contained in the attachments.  

What type of information is “confidential” that should be put into separately labeled attachments? According to the EEOC, the employer should segregate the following information into separate attachments and designate them as follows:

  • Sensitive medical information (except for the charging employee’s medical information).
  • Social Security Numbers.
  • Confidential commercial or confidential financial information.
  • Trade secrets information.
  • Non-relevant personally identifiable information of witnesses, comparators or third parties, for example, social security numbers, dates of birth in non-age cases, home addresses, personal phone numbers, personal email addresses, etc.
  • Any reference to charges filed against the employer by other charging parties.

The EEOC will review attachments designated as confidential and consider the justification provided.  Thus, employers should be judicious in what information they mark as “confidential” or “trade secrets information” and be able to explain why that information is designated that way. Disclosing such information to the EEOC without confidentiality or trade secret designation may later result in the company not being able to claim such information as “trade secret” under the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act.

Leiza Dolghih frequently advises employers on how to handle troublesome employees, assists with responding to EEOC charges and investigations, and litigates employment disputes. For additional information, contact Leiza at Leiza.Dolghih@lewisbrisbois.com or (214) 722-7108.

Responding to an EEOC Discrimination Charge: A Guide for Texas Employers (Part II)

imagesIn Part I, I outlined the EEOC process of investigating a charge of discrimination. In this part, I describe the steps that an employer should take in responding to an EEOC’s charge of discrimination or retaliation.

1.  Calendar the Deadlines.  Don’t think that because the employee’s complaint to the EEOC is “ridiculous” or “silly” in our eyes, that you don’t need to respond. You should always respond, no matter how trivial or ludicrous the complaint is in your opinion. So, don’t put the letter in a “I’ll-deal with-this-later” stack, but calendar the response date and other deadlines as soon as you receive the charge from the EEOC. Then, contact your HR department if you have one, and if not, consider consulting with an attorney who deals with labor and employment issues.

2.  Determine if the Charge Involves an EEOC “Hot” Issue.  Employers should take special note when a charge involves any of the six enforcement priorities highlighted in the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP), as that could mean that the case will get special scrutiny from the agency.  If the charge alleges a violation related to the areas identified in the SEP, the employer should be extra-careful in responding to it.

3.  Collect and Preserve Relevant Evidence.  Determine which people and departments within your company will have information relevant to the charge and then contact them and ask them to collect the relevant evidence. Independently, your IT department should also help you collect and preserve the relevant evidence behind the scenes.

4.  Schedule Interviews and Interview Relevant Witnesses. You will want to interview all the people mentioned in the charge, but also others who might have knowledge of relevant facts.  Depending on the size of the organization and allegations, you might have to start scheduling interviews right away.  You will have to decide whether you’d like your HR department, an independent third-party investigator, or an attorney to conduct such interviews.  You will also need to determine in which order to line up the relevant witnesses.

5.  Warn Against Retaliation.  In matters involving current employees, the employer should remind everybody interviewed or involved in the investigation, that they may not retaliate against the employee in any manner for having filed a charge.  Likewise, retaliation against anybody who testifies on behalf of the employee or assists the EEOC with its investigation is also prohibited.

6.  Establish a Point of Contact with the EEOC.  Designate one person within the organization who will be responsible for contact with the EEOC’s agent assigned to the charge.  This person should be professional, courteous, and somebody who is capable of and has the time to keep the EEOC agent apprised of any delays in the investigation. Cooperation and courteous working relationship with the EEOC is key!

7. Consider Mediation.  Mediation affords employers an opportunity to resolve the issues addressed in a charge without incurring the cost of a time-consuming investigation.  During this time, the agency investigation is placed on hold. In the event the matter does not settle, employer may be able to obtain additional information from the employee which may enable it to more effectively respond to the allegations in the charge.

8.  Draft the Position Statement.  See Part III for guidance on drafting a position statement.

9.  Respond to Requests for Information. EEOC’s requests for information (RIFs) will most likely be over broad, and it is up to the employer to negotiate the scope of production.  Negotiating to limit the time period or the geographic scope can help keep the costs down and limit the investigation to issues immediately at hand.  The deadline for production of documents is also often negotiable.

10.  Arrange for Employee Interviews.  The investigator will usually notify you of the names of the employees that he or she will want to interview.  You may be present during interviews with management personnel, but an investigator is allowed to conduct interviews of non-management level employees without your presence or permission. If the investigator asks the employer to arrange for such interviews, cooperation is the best approach.

Leiza Dolghih frequently advises employers on how to handle troublesome employees, assists with responding to EEOC charges and investigations, and litigates employment disputes. For more information, e-mail Leiza.Dolghih@GodwinLewis.com.

 

 

Responding to an EEOC Discrimination Charge: A Guide for Texas Employers (Part I)

imagesOpening mail and finding out that an employee has filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against your business is as far from a pleasant surprise as it gets. However, it happens to quite a few businesses each year.  In 2014, there were 88,778 charges filed with the EEOC, with Texas, Florida and California being the top three states. Overall, the most common claims were retaliation (42.8%), followed by race discrimination (35%) and sex discrimination (29.3%). Thirty percent of all charges included some sort of harassment allegations.

The EEOC Investigation Process

Typically, when an employee files a charge with the EEOC, the agency will notify the employer within 10 days that a charge of discrimination has been filed and will provide the employer with the name and contact information for the investigator assigned to the case.

During the investigation, the assigned EEOC agent will ask the employer and the employee who filed the claim to provide information, which the investigator will evaluate to determine whether unlawful discrimination has taken place. The agent may ask the employer to provide any or all of the following:

  • submit a statement of position;
  • respond to a Request for Information (RFI);
  • request an on-site visit; and/or
  • provide contact information for or have employees available for witness interviews

If the charge was not dismissed by the EEOC when it was received, that means there was some basis for proceeding with further investigation. There are many cases where it is unclear whether discrimination may have occurred and an investigation is necessary. Such investigation, thus, presents an opportunity for an employer to state any facts that the employer believes will show the allegations are incorrect or do not amount to a violation of the law.

The Employer’s Role in the Investigation

According to the EEOC, employers should do all of the following to help with the investigation:

  • Work with the investigator to identify the most efficient and least burdensome way to gather relevant evidence.
  • You should submit a prompt response to the EEOC and provide the information requested, even if you believe the charge is frivolous. If there are extenuating circumstances preventing a timely response from you, contact your investigator to work out a new due date for the information.
  • Provide complete and accurate information in response to requests from your investigator.
  • The average time it takes to process an EEOC investigation is about 182 days.  An undue delay in responding to requests for information extends the time it takes to complete an investigation.
  • If you have concerns regarding the scope of the information being sought, advise the investigator. Although EEOC is entitled to all information relevant to the allegations contained in the charge, and has the authority to subpoena such information, in some instances, the information request may be modified.
  • Keep relevant documents. If you are unsure whether a document is needed, ask your investigator. By law, you are required to keep certain documents for a set period of time.

The Results of the Investigation

Once the investigator has completed the investigation, the EEOC will make a determination on the merits of the charge.

  • If the EEOC determines that there is no reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred, it will send the employee a letter called a Dismissal and Notice of Rights that tells the employee that s/he has the right to file a lawsuit in federal court within 90 days from the date of receipt of the letter. The employer will receive a copy of the letter as well.
  • If the EEOC determines there is reasonable cause to believe discrimination has occurred, both employer and employee will be issued a Letter of Determination stating that there is reason to believe that discrimination occurred and inviting the parties to join the agency in seeking to resolve the charge, through an informal process known as conciliation.
  • Where conciliation fails, the EEOC has the authority to enforce violations of its statutes by filing a lawsuit in federal court. If the EEOC decides not to litigate, the employee will receive a Notice of Right to Sue and may file a lawsuit against the employer in federal court within 90 days.

Leiza Dolghih frequently advises employers on how to handle troublesome employees, assists with responding to EEOC charges and investigations, and litigates employment disputes. For more information, e-mail Leiza.Dolghih@GodwinLewis.com.

A Minority Employee Must Be “Clearly Better Qualified” For Promotion to Succeed in an Employment Discrimination Claim

what-do-you-mean-that-i-am-not-koalafied

Just before the New Year’s Eve, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals topped off 2014 with yet another pro-employer decision. In Martinez v. Texas Workforce Commissionthe Court found that a Mexican-American employee failed to show that he was passed over for promotion because of his national origin and not because he was the lesser qualified candidate.

The Court of Appeals explained that where an employer offers a reason or reasons for promoting a white employee over a minority one, in order to show that these reasons are just a pretext, the minority employee must show that he is “clearly better qualified” such that “the qualifications are so widely disparate that no reasonable employer would have made the same decision.” Thus, Martinez had to show that his qualifications were so much better than the qualifications of the white employee who was promoted over him, that no reasonable employer would have promoted that employee over Martinez. If that sounds like a tough standard to meet for employees – it is.

The Court of Appeals clarified that employers may weigh the qualifications of prospective employees, so long as they are not motivated by race.  Thus, just because one employee has better education, work experience, and longer tenure, does not necessarily establish that he is clearly better qualified. An employer, for example, may value specific experience, such as military service, more than general experience or years of service at the company. Likewise, an employee’s experience in a particular department does not necessarily make him “clearly better clarified” than another employee who does not have such experience.

The Court of Appeals also affirmed many employers’ practice of scoring employees’ interview performances, finding that where the candidates are asked an identical set of questions and are scored based on the similarity of their answers to a model answer, their interview scores may serve as a legitimate basis for the employer’s decision whether to promote a particular employee. An employer must, however, provide evidence as to how the interviewers arrive at their scores.

CONCLUSION: In the the Fifth Circuit, which covers Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, once an employer shows that it had a legitimate non-discriminatory reason or reasons for promoting one employee over another, the employee who claims employment discrimination under Title VII must show that he or she was “clearly better qualified” for the promotion such that no reasonable employer would have made the same promotion decision.

Leiza Dolghih frequently advises employers on how to handle troublesome employees, assists with responding to EEOC charges, and litigates employment disputes. For more information, e-mail Leiza.Dolghih@GodwinLewis.com.

An Employee Claiming Unlawful Discharge Based on Religious Beliefs Must Show That the Management and not Coworkers Knew About Such Beliefs – Explains the Fifth Circuit

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is notorious for being pro-business and pro-employer, and its last week’s ruling in Nobach v. Woodland Village Nursing Center, Inc., et al. does little to change that reputation.

In this case, Kelsey Nobach, a nursing home activities aide was discharged by Woodland Village Nursing Center after she refused to pray the Rosary with a resident, which was a regularly scheduled activity when requested.  She sued Woodland for violating Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964 by unlawfully discharging her because of her religion. The jury found in Nobach’s favor and awarded her $69,584 with $55,200 being for emotional distress and mental anguish, but the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed.

On September 19, 2009, a certified nurse assistant (“CNA”), a non-supervisory employee with no responsibilities over Nobach, told Nobach that a resident requested that the Rosary be read to her. Nobach told the CNA that she could not read it because it was against her religion.

The resident complained to management, and five days later, the Woodland’s activities director called Nobach into her office and told her she was fired for failing to assist a resident with a prayer.  She told Nobach: “I don’t care if it’s your fifth write-up or not. I would have fired you for this instance alone.” Nobach—for the first time—then informed the director that performing the Rosary was against her religion, stating: “Well, I can’t pray the Rosary. It’s against my religion.” The director’s response was: “I don’t care if it is against your religion or not. If you don’t do it, it’s insubordination.” After Nobach was fired, she explained that she was a former Jehovah’s Witness and still adhered to many of their beliefs.

The Court explained that Title VII makes it unlawful for an employer to discharge an individual “because of such individual’s . . . religion.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). An employee may prove intentional discrimination “through either direct or circumstantial evidence.” Nobach argued that she offered direct evidence of Woodland’s discriminatory animus that motivated her discharge, which was evidenced by Woodland’s acknowledgement that she was fired for not praying the Rosary with the resident, and the Woodland’s director’s statement that she did not care if performing the Rosary was against Nobach’s religion, she still would have been fired because to refuse to perform the Rosary was insubordination.

The Fifth Circuit, however, found that Nobach failed to provide even one piece of evidence that showed that Nobach ever advised anyone involved in her discharge that praying the Rosary was against her religion. Nor did she claim that the CNA told any of Nobach’s supervisors that her refusal was based on her religion. The only time that Nobach actually advised her supervisor that her refusal to perform a job duty was motivated by her religious beliefs, was after she had already been discharged. As the Court said, “[i]n sum, she has offered no evidence that Woodland came to know of her bona-fide religious beliefs until after she was actually discharged.”

TAKEAWAY FOR EMPLOYEES:  When requesting a religious accommodation such as a deviation from a job duty that would violate their religious beliefs, employees must convey their request to their supervisors or the management and not just other coworkers.

TAKEAWAY FOR EMPLOYERS: When firing or letting go an employee, saying less is almost always better. It is possible that if the director who discharged Nobach used less inflammatory language instead of telling Nobach that she didn’t care if reading the Rosary was against her religion, Nobach would have been less likely to file a lawsuit. Firing an employee can get emotional, especially if there is a troubled history with the employee, however, it is important to remain cool and collected and not make any statements that the employee can later use as an ammunition to bring an unlawful discharge claim.

Leiza Dolghih frequently advises employers on how to handle troublesome employees, assists with responding to E.E.O.C. charges, and litigates employment disputes. For more information, e-mail Leiza.Dolghih@GodwinLewis.com.

10 Major Employment Laws That Every Texas Business Owner Should Know

Building a successful business usually takes a lot of hard work and time.  An ill-timed lawsuit can cause significant damage to the business or even completely ruin it.  Many lawsuits brought by disgruntled employees or rejected job applicants can result in double or triple damages under federal and state employment laws, thousands in attorneys fees, and can cause an irreparable damage to the business’ reputation.  So why risk it?

In this post, I provide a quick reference list of the major Federal and Texas employment laws.  Most of these statutes apply to all private employers, no matter the size or type of business; but some statutes apply only to businesses with a certain number of employees or volume of business.

As a business owner, knowing which laws apply to your company and complying with them can save you a lot of money.

1. Fair Labor & Standard Act (FLSA) 

  • Applies to (1) private employers with at least $500,000 a year in business; (2) hospitals, businesses providing medical or nursing care for residents, schools, preschools and government agencies (federal, state, and local); (3) employees of companies with less than $500,000 a year in business if the employees engage in interstate commerce i.e. commerce between the states.
    • Basically, every business in the USA is covered by the FLSA unless it is a purely local business with less than $500,000  a year in business.
  • Establishes the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and requires overtime pay at a rate of  not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for any hours worked after 40 hours of work in a workweek by any covered non-exempt employees.
  • Enforced by the Department of Labor (DOL).

2. Texas Minimum Wage Act

  • Applies to all private employers, no matter the size.
  • Establishes a minimum wage for non-exempt employees that is tied to the FLSA’s minimum wage and requires the employers to provide each employee with a written earnings statement about the employee’s pay.
  • Enforced by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).

3. The Equal Pay Act (EPA)

4. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title 7)

  • Applies to any private businesses with 15 or more employees.
  • Prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, and sex, which includes pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions (see a related post regarding pregnancy discrimination here). This is the law that typically gives rise to sexual harassment claims.
  • Enforced by the EEOC.

5. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)

  • Applies to all private businesses with 20 or more employees.
  • Prohibits employment discrimination against persons 40 years of age or older.
  • Enforced by the EEOC.

6. Title I and V of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1999 (ADA)

  • Applies to all private businesses with 15 or more employees.
  • Prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities (physical or mental impairments that substantially limits one or more major life activities) or individuals regarded as having such disabilities.
  • Enforced by the the EEOC.

7. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA)

8. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

  • Applies to private-sector employers, with at least 50 employees in 20 or more workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year.
  • Only the following employees will qualify: (1) has worked for the employer for at least 12 non-consecutive months; (2) has at least 1,250 hours of service for the employer during the 12 month period immediately preceding the leave; and (3) works at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles.
  • Allows eligible employees to take up to 12 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons: (1) the birth of a son or daughter or placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care; (3) for a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job; or (4) for any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a military member on covered active duty or call to covered duty status.
  • Enforced by the DOL.

9. The Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA)

  • Applies to all private employers, no matter the size.
  • Requires that each employer “furnish … a place of employment which [is] free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”
  • Enforced by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

10.  The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA)

  • Applies to all private employers, no matter the size
  • Requires employers to reemploy returning service-members in the same position that they would have attained had they not been absent for military service, with the same seniority, status and pay, as well as other rights and benefits determined by seniority.
  • Enforced by the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS)

Virtually all of the laws on this list also prohibit retaliation against employees who have complained about the violation of these statutes, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment investigation or lawsuit arising out of the violations.

FLeiza Dolghih is a partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP in Dallas, Texas and a Co-Chair of the firm’s Trade Secrets and Non-Compete Disputes national practice.  His practice includes commercial, intellectual property and employment litigation.  You can contact her directly at Leiza.Dolghih@LewisBrisbois.com or (214) 722-7108.

Firing a Mother for Breast Feeding is, Indeed, Sexual Discrimination

Seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, a Texas District Court judge did not think so, so the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had to step in and set him straight in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Houston Funding II, Ltd

Back in February 2012, a Texas federal judge held that a woman who claimed that she was fired for seeking to use a breast pump at work had no viable claim under Title VII‘s prohibition against discrimination based upon pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition. He dismissed her claims on summary judgment stating that “lactation is not pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition,”  therefore, “firing someone because of lactation or breast-pumping is not discrimination.”  Needless to say, the opinion caused an uproar and resulted in the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) filing an appeal with the Fifth Circuit.

The EEOC explained that “lactation discrimination” violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) because lactation is a medical condition related to pregnancy.  Furthermore, the disparate treatment on the basis of breastfeeding, an inherently female function, constitutes “the essence of sex discrimination” under Title VII.  As stated in the EEOC’s appellate brief, “[l]actation is a female-specific function.  Thus, firing a female worker because she is lactating (i.e., producing and/or expressing breast milk) imposes a burden on that female worker that a comparable male employee simply could never suffer. That is the essence of sex discrimination.”

The Fifth Circuit agreed with the EEOC and explained that a dismissal of a female employee motivated by the fact that she is lactating “clearly imposes upon women a burden that male employees need not – indeed, could not – suffer.”  The Court held that “lactation is a related medication condition to pregnancy for purposes of the PDA,” and thus, cannot be used as a reason to fire or discriminate against an employee.

Additional Protections for Breastfeeding Mothers in Workplace 

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Affordable Care Act”), which amended Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), requires employers to provide reasonable break time for employees to express breast milk for nursing children for one year after a child’s birth.  The Act also requires employers “to provide a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which can be used by employees to express breast milk.”  More details about this requirements can be found at the Department of Labor website here.

Texas does not have a similar statute.  However, Texas Health Code §165.002 (1995) authorizes a woman to breastfeed her child in any location, which would include a work place, and Texas Health Code §165.003 et seq. provide for the use of a “mother-friendly” designation for businesses who have policies supporting worksite breastfeeding. (HB 340)  The law provides for a worksite breastfeeding demonstration project and requires the Department of Health to develop recommendations supporting worksite breastfeeding (HB 359), which can be found at www.texasmotherfriendly.org.

Finally, the EEOC provides its Caregiver Best Practices Guidance (2011) for employers, in which it explains what employers can do above and beyond what is required by federal law in order to avoid discrimination claims and create a productive work environment.

BOTTOM LINE:  In the day and age when women make up 46.9% of the total labor force, and 51.5% of management, professional, and related positions, and when 55.8% of all mothers with children under the age of 1 are in the labor force, employers can no longer afford to ignore pregnancy-related issues in the workplace and need to familiarize themselves with the relevant law or face unpleasant consequences.  

Leiza Dolghih is a partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP in Dallas, Texas and a Co-Chair of the firm’s Trade Secrets and Non-Compete Disputes national practice.  His practice includes commercial, intellectual property and employment litigation.  You can contact her directly at Leiza.Dolghih@LewisBrisbois.com or (214) 722-7108.