TEXAS LEADERS IN EMPLOYMENT AND CIVIL RIGHTS LAW
OUR PHILOSOPHY IS ROOTED IN A BELIEF
THAT ALL PEOPLE DESERVE ACCESS TO JUSTICE
THAT ALL PEOPLE DESERVE ACCESS TO JUSTICE
Our firm seeks to hold accountable those who abuse their authority. Whether it is an employee who has been wrongly fired because of her age or an individual who has experienced excessive force at the hands of a police officer, we work to protect the rights of individuals and our communities. Our philosophy is rooted in a belief that all people deserve access to justice when confronting those with power.
Our team understands the impact suffered by workers and their families when they experience the loss of their livelihood. We also understand the need to protect employees when they report illegality or injustice in the workplace. Our firm is passionate about seeking justice for workers and labor organizations.
In the same way, our firm serves clients who have suffered injuries at the hands of police and other law enforcement officers who have exceeded their authority to use force. We address all aspects of the physical and emotional impact of police misconduct in a manner that aligns results with clients’ goals.
We are a small firm with deep and broad experience in representing employees and victims of all backgrounds. We bring to clients a long commitment to excellence and a fearless passion to seeking justice on their behalf.
Lynn and Chris have successfully tried cases in state and federal trial courts and before administrative agencies in Texas, Illinois, and New Mexico. They have argued cases before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and Eighth Court of Appeals (El Paso) winning favorable rulings on difficult issues in both employment and civil rights cases.
Lynn Coyle started practicing law in 1991 in Chicago, Illinois, defending immigrants from deportation while employed with the Midwest Immigrant Rights Center (now called the National Immigrant Justice Center). She joined the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law of Texas in 1995 where she represented residents across the state of Texas who were subjected to federal or local law enforcement abuse. In this capacity, Lynn became a leader in Texas and nationwide on protecting the civil rights of immigrants. She was a frequent speaker before the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association, the National Hispanic Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas and other state and national organizations.
In 2003, she joined her husband, Francisco X. Dominguez in creating the firm, Dominguez & Coyle, PLLC. For twelve years, she defended the rights of workers who were unlawfully fired in retaliation for engaging in whistleblower activities, reporting discrimination or were targeted because of their age, disability or other protected characteristic. After Francisco was elected as a district court judge in El Paso, Texas, in January 2015, Dominguez & Coyle, PLLC became The Law Office of Lynn Coyle, PLLC. From inception, the firm has focused exclusively on seeking justice for individuals against more powerful entities.
Lynn has been named a Texas Super Lawyer every year from 2014 to 2017.
Christopher Benoit comes to the firm after over a decade working as an advocate for human and labor rights. Christopher has worked alongside workers and unions since 2003 and practiced employment, labor, civil rights, and human rights law for the last eight years. In 2009, Christopher started the Economic Justice Program (EJP) in El Paso, Texas as an attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project. The EJP supported the organization of hundreds of workers, changes in state and local laws, the recovery of hundreds of thousands of dollars of stolen wages, and the creation of a worker center.
Before joining the Texas Civil Rights Project, Christopher coordinated wage and hour organizing committees at worker centers in Seattle and Denver and supported migrant workers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border with the Southern Poverty Law Center Immigrant Justice Project, Colorado Legal Services Migrant Farmworker Division, and the Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. Christopher also worked for Proyecto de Derechos Económicos Sociales y Culturales, AC (ProDESC) in Mexico City supporting human rights campaigns throughout the country.
Aside from his work with the firm, Christopher is also a staff attorney with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc.
Christopher was named a Texas Super Lawyer Rising Star in 2017.
Whistleblower and Employment Retaliation Cases
In 2014, the firm reached a significant settlement against a local municipality for firing a whistleblower in retaliation for her efforts to report corruption to law enforcement.
In 2009, the firm won a jury verdict on behalf of a whistleblower who was transferred in retaliation for reporting the El Paso Fire Department’s unsafe training practices to state authorities.
Employment Discrimination Cases
In 2014, the firm won reinstatement for a firefighter with a distinguished seventeen year career who was fired soon after recovering from surgery and treatment for brain cancer.
In 2007, the firm led an appellate team to win a groundbreaking ruling for employees from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Alvarado v. Texas Rangers et al, 492 F.3d 605 (5th Cir. 2007). The Court found that, in a gender discrimination case, the denial of a transfer may be an adverse action for purposes of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and that a reasonable jury could find that an employer has no legitimate reason for a transfer when the employer bases its decision on unsubstantiated interview scores.
In 2005, the firm led a trial team that won a verdict on behalf of two female firefighters who were subjected to a hostile work environment by being denied the same access to restroom facilities as their male counterparts. In that same case, we also won an order by the Court finding that “the City’s policy in regards to bathroom and shower facilities has a disparate impact on women employees and must be remedied.”
Workplace Injury Cases
In 2015, the firm, serving as co-counsel, secured a jury verdict on behalf of a laborer severely injured after falling in an unsafe construction site. The verdict is currently on appeal to the Eighth Court of Appeals.
In 2007, the firm was part of a trial team that won a jury verdict for a construction worker severely injured in a worksite accident. The case later settled.
Civil Rights and Police Misconduct Cases
In 2014, the firm, along with co-counsel, won a $402,000 bench judgment against the United States when FBI agents intentionally misrepresented the facts and wrongly arrested an office supply salesman for a bank robbery. The client eventually recovered $282,321.48 after attorneys’ fees and costs.
In 2013, we were part of a litigation team that secured a settlement with City of El Paso on behalf of a mother whose son was shot and killed by an off duty police officer during a routine traffic stop.
In 2011, the firm won a favorable ruling from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denying qualified immunity to Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West for a detention without probable cause. This case has been integral for advocates seeking justice in false arrest cases in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
In 2008, the firm secured a settlement on behalf of a young undocumented woman who was subjected to sexually inappropriate contact by a border patrol agent during her apprehension and transport.
The law protecting workers and individuals is complex and attorneys must have a deep understanding of this area of practice to be successful. Our firm brings that to our clients – providing you with representation or advice and counsel in the following areas:
As employees, our work defines who we are as individuals and provides security for ourselves and our families. That’s why it is important to ensure that workers are free from unlawful discrimination and retaliation. Both federal and state law prevents employers from using a “protected trait” when taking an adverse action including termination, demotion, refusal to hire or promote, or on-the-job harassment. Specifically, Texas and federal law prevents employers from taking action on the basis of an employee’s:
- National origin;
- Disability; and,
Not all incidents of discrimination are protected. The law only protects discrimination against certain “protected classes.” Our team is willing to help you understand workplace discrimination and protect your interests within the law. Our firm has a long history of success in representing employees from all backgrounds in challenging discriminatory actions.
Our workplaces, stores, nursing homes, hospitals, and executive suites are protected in large part by employees who bravely step up and warn management or outside law enforcement of on-the-job misconduct or illegal behavior. Others may insist on using what is theirs – workers’ compensation or FMLA leave. Many employers applaud this behavior but too often employers respond by firing, demoting, or otherwise taking adverse actions against the employee. Adverse actions also include undesirable transfers, reduction in compensation, or on-the-hob harassment.
Luckily, there is a broad array of laws that may protect these workers particularly when they are retaliated against for the following:
- Reporting Minimum wage or overtime violations;
- Reporting sexual harassment, unlawful discrimination, or participating in a discrimination proceeding;
- Using or requesting leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act;
- Filing a worker’s compensation claim;
- Requesting a reasonable accommodation for disabilities;
- Reporting Nursing Home Abuse;
- Reporting fraud in the workplace that defrauds the federal or state government (including Medicaid/Medicare fraud);
- Refusing to perform illegal activity;
- Reporting workplace safety issues;
- Talking with your co-workers about how to better working conditions; or
- Reporting misconduct in relation to various securities laws or fraudulent conduct.
Not all adverse actions are retaliation, however. For example, if an employee complains about a supervisor treating him or her badly – with nothing more – the law will not protect that employee. For this reason, it is important to consult with an attorney early to figure out whether your reporting or complaint is protected by law.
We are always willing to consult with employees before they speak up to develop a strategy on how to best protect themselves in the event that their employer retaliates against them. When retaliation has occurred, our firm has a distinguished record of representing whistleblowers and others who have spoken out and suffered harm as a result.
Federal and state law throughout the country protect a very simple principle: a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. Federal law require all employers to pay at least $7.25 (or more in states like New Mexico) per hour to all employees for all hours worked and 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours per week.
Unscrupulous employers often fail to pay the minimum wage through unlawful deductions or classifying employees as independent contractors when they are actually employees.
Other employees are entitled to overtime but aren’t paid extra compensation because their employer improperly classified them as administrative, executive or professional employees.
Finally, employers can violate your right to minimum wage by forcing non-tipped employees into tip pooling or taking a tip credit when an employee is not actually receiving tips.
Our firm has successfully represented both low-income and highly compensated employees in both individual and collective minimum wage and overtime lawsuits.
In our day-to-day encounters with law enforcement, we have the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. This means that officers are prohibited from using force that is unreasonable or from arresting persons without probable cause. When an officer uses fatal force, such force is only justified when the officer or a third party is imminently threatened with death or serious bodily injury.
Even force that is less than deadly force, must only be used in a manner that is reasonable and proportionate to the circumstances facing an officer. Sexual contact by an officer against an individual is not lawful under any circumstances.
Our firm represents individuals, and in case of death, the families of individuals who were unjustifiably shot by law enforcement. We also represent persons who were subjected to sexual abuse by officers or suffered injuries by other methods of force.
Our firm is uniquely positioned to successfully advance civil rights cases through trial or an agreeable settlement because we have deep experience representing many clients over the years who have suffered serious injuries or death because of police misconduct.
For more information, please contact us or fill out our consultation form:
2515 N. Stanton Street
El Paso, Texas 79902
(915) 532-5566 FAX
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