El Paso Texas Board Certified Civil Trial and Consumer and Commercial Law Attorney
Resolving disputes is my business
I am Steve James, Attorney at Law. I am proud to be an attorney who can handle a wide variety of disputed matters. Other lawyers call me aggressive and tough. But I always make an ethical presentation. I do not make the facts, but I present them well. Drawing on my skills as an arbitrator and mediator, I work hard to resolve your case to meet your needs. But if the case has to go to court, know that I am a fearless and well respected litigator.
I handle cases primarily in the following areas:
-Wrongful termination or discrimination
The personal touch
After your free initial phone consultation, during which I hear from you about your legal issue, I decide whether to pursue your case or refer you to someone else in El Paso's network of lawyers. If I think I can help you, I invite you into the office for a more in-depth discussion. I will not offer any legal advice over the phone.
When you come into my office, you will not see the usual trappings of a law office. Instead, you will see World War II artworks, particularly of battles in the Pacific. My three uncles fought for all of us in that theater during World War II. These scenes inspire me to fight for my clients every day in the state and federal courts in Texas.
You will always be able to reach me. I will call you back personally, because there is no paralegal or junior lawyer, no one to pass you on to. That also means there are no extraneous costs or fees for such extra personnel.
Referrals are the greatest compliment
Satisfied clients refer their friends and colleagues to me. So do other lawyers, even opponents. A frequent speaker on employment, consumer, and civil litigation issues throughout Texas, I am well known in legal circles. For the last nine years, I have been listed in the Texas list of Super Lawyers, 2006-2014, by Thomson Reuters in the areas of general litigation and employment and labor law. My peers have been kind enough to rate me, resulting in AV Peer Review RatedSMby Martindale-Hubbell and I have been named repeatedly in the annual editions of the Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers.
521 Texas Avenue
El Paso TX 79901
Wrongful Termination and Discrimination
A job is more than a job
Getting fired or being discriminated against hurts. Your pride, your ego, your family, your bank account and more may suffer.
I do understand the importance of having a job-I was raised in a humble household. My mom was a waitress and secretary. My dad worked in natural gas compressor plants. Growing up, I washed dishes in a restaurant, sold newspapers, sold ice cream, worked as a bellboy at a hotel, worked in the oilfield, and spent three years as a computer operator. I know first-hand the need for a good job.
Examining the root cause of your termination
If you work in Texas, your employer hires and fires using the state's employment at will doctrine. That means your employer can let you go without cause or reason. It also means you can leave without any legal implications.
But there are certain conditions under which this doctrine does not apply:
Violation of state or federal law. You may have a wrongful termination case if you have been fired because of-
-Discrimination based on your race, sex, religion, national origin, age, or disability
-Having filed a worker's compensation claim
-Having reported abuse or neglect of a nursing home patient or of a hospital patient
Violation of public policy. You may have a wrongful termination case if you have been fired for-
-Refusing to break the law
-Reporting the employer's violation of the law that resulted in public harm
-Exercising a statutory or constitutional right
-Serving on a jury
Depending on the conditions, you may be entitled to back pay, front pay, recovery of unpaid commissions and bonuses, and/or compensation for emotional, punitive and other damages. Documentation and proof of your employer's actions are critical to a successful wrongful termination suit.
Answers to your questions about wrongful termination
I was recently fired from my job. I have never received any warnings and I have good performance reviews. Was this a wrongful termination?
Texas has an "at will" employment policy. That means either you or your employer can terminate employment without notice. Your employer is not legally required to give you warnings. For more information about the Texas Workforce Commission and at will employment, click here.
My employer has denied my unemployment benefits. Can he do that?
The Texas Unemployment Office determines whether you receive benefits. Your employer may protest giving you unemployment benefits but cannot deny them. So, you have every right to appeal and so does your employer. But, you would also have to look at the reasons for your dismissal. In general, you are eligible for unemployment benefits if your employer dismissed you for any other reason besides misconduct.
Proud to be an El Paso Attorney
I appreciate a complex problem, because I enjoy the challenge of solving it. I began my legal career with Mesa Petroleum Co. and T. Boone Pickens, Jr., one of six lawyers in Amarillo, TX working on multimillion dollar matters. I then joined a large law firm out of El Paso, Texas, running its Midland, Texas offices. I moved to El Paso in 1988 and joined a small litigation firm. In January 1995, I went out on my own as a sole practitioner.
University of Texas School of Law