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Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P. is proud to announce Ashley Smith has joined the firm as Counsel. Ashley is an experienced employment & labor law attorney and educator with significant experience in counseling and litigation. Her practice includes employment litigation defense, wage claims, federal and state agency, compliance, training, employment contracts, employee handbooks, and non-disclosure and non-competition agreements. Her work in counseling both U.S. based and foreign clients in labor law matters includes compliance on COBRA, ERISA, COVID19, NLRA/RLA, FMLA and OSHA.

Ashley holds a BA degree from the The University of Texas and received her JD from the University of Houston Law Center. She is a Member of the National Charity League and Long Center and active supporter of Partnerships for Children.

I am honored to join such an accomplished group of employment and labor law attorneys.  I look forward to serving their clients and continuing to develop my own practice with my former colleagues and friends.” – Ashley Smith, Counsel


Ashley is a former colleague and long-time friend of the Firm. Over the years, I have watched with great respect the work Ashley has done for her clients. Our Firm is stronger and our Clients will benefit greatly from her sage counsel. I am delighted to have her on our team.” ~ Jason Boulette, Partner


About Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P.
Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P. is an award-winning Austin-based employment and litigation law firm focused on employment and business litigation, counseling, compliance and corporate immigration services for employers in Texas. Well known as experienced, pragmatic litigators who provide responsive and cost-effective counsel to their clients, BG&M attorneys deliver the results of a large law firm with the responsiveness and cost efficiency of a smaller firm. For more information, please visit www.boulettegolden.com.

Best Lawyers® announced the 2023 Edition of Best Lawyers in America® on August 18, 2022. More than 12 million peer evaluations were received and Best Lawyers honored approximately 5.3% of practicing lawyers in the United States, exemplifying the work of the most elite and top-rated lawyers in the country.

Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P. is pleased to announce the inclusion of five attorneys from the firm as Best Lawyers for 2023. Additionally, Partner Ann Price was recognized as Lawyer of the Year for Employment Law – Management in Austin. The rankings represent recognition for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers.

Honored this year:

Jason S. Boulette - Recognized since 2006
Employment Law - Management
Labor Law - Management

Ann Abrams Price - Recognized since 2016
Lawyer of the Year, Employment Law - Management
Employment Law - Management

Michael D. Marin - Recognized since 2009
Commercial Litigation

Laura M. Merritt - Recognized since 2018
Employment Law – Management
Labor Law – Management
Litigation - Labor & Employment

Tanya D. DeMent - Recognized since 2015
Litigation - Labor & Employment

About Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P.

Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P. is an award-winning Austin-based employment and litigation law firm focused on employment and business litigation, counseling, compliance and corporate immigration services for employers in Texas. Well known as experienced, pragmatic litigators who provide responsive and cost-effective counsel to their clients, BG&M attorneys deliver the results of a large law firm with the responsiveness and cost efficiency of a smaller firm. For more information, please visit www.boulettegolden.com.

About Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected lawyer ranking service in the world. For over 40 years, Best Lawyers has assisted those in need of legal services to identify the lawyers best qualified to represent them in distant jurisdictions or unfamiliar specialties. Best Lawyers lists are published in leading local, regional, and national publications across the globe.

Steven Garrett named Partner with Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P.

Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P. is proud to announce Steven Garrett has been named a Partner in the firm. Steven’s practice is focused on labor & employment law - litigating non-compete and trade secret matters, defending employment discrimination and harassment claims, advising clients on work separation agreements, assisting with federal and state agency compliance and investigations, negotiating collective bargaining agreements and representing clients in corporate immigration matters. He has significant expertise in the use of ediscovery, and digital forensics to creatively identify facts that assist in the resolution of disputes.

Steven holds a BA degree from the The University of Texas and received his JD from the University of Virginia School of Law. He is a Director on the boards of CommUnity Care and Skillpoint Alliance.

“Steven has been a trusted colleague for many years and has served our clients with great passion, tenacity and expertise since 2013. I am delighted to have him now serving as a partner in our firm.” ~ Jason Boulette, Partner

About Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P.

Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P. is an award-winning Austin-based employment and litigation law firm focused on employment and business litigation, counseling, compliance and corporate immigration services for employers in Texas. Well known as experienced, pragmatic litigators who provide responsive and cost-effective counsel to their clients, BG&M attorneys deliver the results of a large law firm with the responsiveness and cost efficiency of a smaller firm. For more information, please visit www.boulettegolden.com.

Three Boulette Golden & Marin Attorneys Recognized by Super Lawyers as Top Women in Texas for 2022

Boulette Golden & Marin Partners, Ann Price and Laura Merritt, as well as Associate Tanya DeMent, have been selected to the Texas Top Women list by Super Lawyers. Price, Merritt and DeMent have been selected to the list in Employment & Labor each year since 2019. Female attorneys on the top list have been selected to the Texas Super Lawyers list and ranked at the top of the list in the Super Lawyers selection process.

Please join us in congratulating the Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P. attorneys on their selections.

About Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P.

Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P. is an award-winning Austin-based employment and litigation law firm focused on employment and business litigation, counseling, compliance and corporate immigration services for employers in Texas. Well known as experienced, pragmatic litigators who provide responsive and cost-effective counsel to their clients, BG&M attorneys deliver the results of a large law firm with the responsiveness and cost efficiency of a smaller firm.

 

Boulette Golden & Marin Associate Steven Garrett has been appointed to the Board of Directors for CommUnityCare Health Centers. Garrett is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

With more than 27 Central Texas locations, CommUnityCare is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides outpatient primary health care, dental care, pediatric, specialty care, lab, radiology including mammography, a full-service pharmacy and behavioral health services. Founded in 2009, the nonprofit is an enterprise partner with Central Health, which is the public healthcare district serving
the resident of Travis County. CommUnityCare is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), which is part of the nation’s vital safety net community health system, providing high quality care to underserved communities without regard to insurance status.

CommUnityCare is among the largest non-profits in Central Texas, with an operating budget of approximately $180 million and serving more than 123,000 individual patients during more than 432,000 appointments. In addition to substantial funding from Central Health and the Federal Bureau of Primary Health Care, public and private grants also support its work.

When asked about his interest in serving CommUnityCare, Garrett said “I could not be more honored to join the board of CommUnityCare. Like for many people, COVID-19 was a catalyst for me to look around my community and see what I could do to help out. Learning about the invaluable service provided for low-income people in and around Travis County made me excited to join
CommUnityCare in its vision to provide the right care, at the right time, at the right place.”

Best Lawyers® announced the 2022 Edition of Best Lawyers in America® on August 19, 2021. More  than 10,000,000 peer evaluations were received, which resulted in the inclusion of 66,713 lawyers in 147  practice areas across the United States. Best Lawyers honored approximately 5% of practicing lawyers in  the United States, exemplifying the work of the most elite and top-rated lawyers in the country.

Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P. is pleased to announce the inclusion, once again, of six attorneys from  the firm as Best Lawyers for 2022. Additionally, Associate Tanya DeMent was recognized as Lawyer of  the Year for Litigation in Labor and Employment in Austin and Partner Jason Boulette was  recognized for a second time as Lawyer of the Year Labor Law in Management in Austin. The rankings  represent recognition for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and  peers.

Honored this year:

Jason S. Boulette - Recognized since 2006
2022 Lawyer of the Year for Labor Law in Management in Austin
Employment Law - Management
Labor Law - Management

Tanya D. DeMent - Recognized since 2015
2022 Lawyer of the Year for Litigation in Labor and Employment in Austin
Litigation - Labor & Employment

Michael J. Golden - Recognized since 2013
Employment Law - Management

Michael D. Marin - Recognized since 2009
Commercial Litigation

Laura M. Merritt - Recognized since 2018
Employment Law – Management
Labor Law – Management
Litigation - Labor & Employment

Ann Abrams Price - Recognized since 2016
Employment Law - Management

 

About Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P.
Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P. is an award-winning Austin-based employment and litigation law firm focused on employment and business litigation, counseling, compliance and corporate immigration services for employers in Texas. Well known as experienced, pragmatic litigators who provide responsive and cost-effective counsel to their clients, BG&M attorneys deliver the results of a large law firm with the responsiveness and cost efficiency of a smaller firm. For more information, please visit www.boulettegolden.com.

About Best Lawyers
Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected lawyer ranking service in the world. For almost 40 years, Best Lawyers has assisted those in need of legal services to identify the lawyers best qualified to represent them in distant jurisdictions or unfamiliar specialties. Best Lawyers lists are published in leading local, regional, and national publications across the globe.

Boulette Golden & Marin Partner, Michael Marin, was appointed the Board of Directors for The Trail
Foundation in 2021 for a 3 year term. Marin, a longtime member of The Trail Foundation, also serves
on the Governance Committee.

Founded as the Town Lake Trail Foundation in 2003, the name was changed to The Trail Foundation in
2008 when Town Lake was renamed Lady Bird Lake honoring the former First Lady of the United
States, Lady Bird Johnson. The Trail Foundation oversees the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail
at Lady Bird Lake in the heart of Austin. Through careful improvements to the Trail’s infrastructure and
environment, the Butler Trail remains a healing place, a place where people go to clear their minds,
commune with nature, gather for fun, or stretch their boundaries. And it’s the center of the city’s
expanding network of connected urban paths. Ultimately, the Trail will extend further eastward and
westward along the lake.

On his enthusiasm for serving The Trail Foundation’s mission, Marin said “As one who has used the
trail regularly for over 25 years, I am so excited to join these excellent colleagues in serving the
mission of TTF to protect, enhance, and connect the trail for the benefit of all Austinites!”

 


 

About Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P.
Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P. is an award-winning Austin-based employment and litigation law firm focused on
employment and business litigation, counseling, compliance and corporate immigration services for employers in Texas.
Well known as experienced, pragmatic litigators who provide responsive and cost-effective counsel to their clients, BG&M
attorneys deliver the results of a large law firm with the responsiveness and cost efficiency of a smaller firm. For more
information, please visit www.boulettegolden.com.

About The Trail Foundation
Our mission is to protect, enhance, and connect the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake for the
benefit of all. Since our formation in 2003 as a 501(c)(3), we have fulfilled our mission through careful improvements to
the Trail’s infrastructure and environment, while honoring the original vision of the Trail’s founders. In 2003, we formed
the Town Lake Trail Foundation to continue the work of the Citizen’s Committee and ensure that the heart of Austin stays
strong. In 2008, inspired by the renaming of the lake, we adopted the name The Trail Foundation.

Mike Golden spoke recently with El Diario.es, a Spanish online news organization, about employers requiring COVID vaccines for employees returning to work.  The article was written in Spanish, but Golden’s comments are summarized here in English:

 

The article itself discusses the EEOC’s guidance that employers may (subject to accommodation obligations under the ADA and Title VII) require employees to be vaccinated prior to returning to the office (or other worksite). New York based reporter Sarah Yáñez-Richards quotes Golden on the assorted practical implications:

 

  • The decision of most employers to require the vaccine or not is driven at least as much by practical considerations as legal ones. Employers are concerned that such requirements could push away either customers or even workers at a time when both are at a premium
  • Despite the EEOC’s general guidance that vaccine requirements are permissible, large employers with presences in multiple states may find themselves facing different local legal requirements depending on where employees work
  • Ultimately, though, with a few legal restrictions, these are decisions that employers are going to have the freedom to make

The text of the full article on El Diario can be found here.


About Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P.
Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P. is an award-winning Austin-based employment and litigation law firm focused on employment and business litigation, counseling, compliance and corporate immigration services for employers in Texas. Well known as experienced, pragmatic litigators who provide responsive and cost-effective counsel to their clients, BG&M attorneys deliver the results of a large law firm with the responsiveness and cost efficiency of a smaller firm.

Best Lawyers® announced the 2021 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America on August 20, 2020. For the 2021 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America, 9.4 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in the inclusion of more than 67,000 lawyers, or approximately 5% of lawyers in private practice in the United States.

Boulette, Golden & Marin L.L.P. is pleased to announce the inclusion, once again, of six attorneys from the firm as Best Lawyers for 2021. This year, Partner Laura M. Merritt received recognition in two additional specialties, Labor Law-Management and Litigation – Labor & Employment.  The rankings represent recognition for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. 

Honored this year:

Jason S. Boulette - Recognized since 2006
Employment Law - Management
Labor Law - Management

Tanya D. DeMent - Recognized since 2015
Litigation - Labor & Employment

Michael J. Golden - Recognized since 2013
Employment Law - Management

Michael D. Marin - Recognized since 2009
Commercial Litigation

Laura M. Merritt - Recognized since 2018
Employment Law – Management
Labor Law – Management
Litigation - Labor & Employment

Ann Abrams Price - Recognized since 2016
Employment Law - Management

 

About Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P.
Boulette Golden & Marin L.L.P. is an award-winning Austin-based employment and litigation law firm focused on employment and business litigation, counseling, compliance and corporate immigration services for employers in Texas. Well known as experienced, pragmatic litigators who provide responsive and cost-effective counsel to their clients, BG&M attorneys deliver the results of a large law firm with the responsiveness and cost efficiency of a smaller firm. For more information, please visit www.boulettegolden.com.

About Best Lawyers
Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected lawyer ranking service in the world. For almost 40 years, Best Lawyers has assisted those in need of legal services to identify the lawyers best qualified to represent them in distant jurisdictions or unfamiliar specialties. Best Lawyers lists are published in leading local, regional, and national publications across the globe.

In a landmark ruling and a tremendous step for LGBTQ rights in the workplace, the United States Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia on June 15. The Court held that when Title VII prohibits sex discrimination in employment, the statute, on its face, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well.

The majority opinion in the 6-3 decision was authored by Justice Gorsuch and focused heavily on the statutory language of Title VII. The Court’s reasoning finds its foundation in textual analysis of Title VII’s straightforward language. The decision’s first paragraph nearly says it all:

Sometimes small gestures can have unexpected consequences. Major initiatives practically guarantee them. In our time, few pieces of federal legislation rank in significance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There, in Title VII, Congress outlawed discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.

The Court went on to explain that, for the purposes of this argument, it used a limited, traditional dictionary definition of “sex” from the time of the statute’s drafting: “status as either male or female as determined by reproductive biology.” Notwithstanding the narrow definition, the Court held discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity must be discrimination on the basis of sex because it is not possible to discriminate against someone for those characteristics without explicitly including his or her sex in the calculus.[1]

Bostock runs through a high-level analysis of Title VII’s causation standard, starting first by reiterating that the basic standard of causation under Title VII is “but for.” The Court takes pains to explain that “but for” does not mean “solely,” or even “primarily.” Rather, if sex is one basis for an employment decision, Title VII is violated, even if there are other bases. As the Court noted, the amendments to Title VII in the Civil Rights Act of 1991 further confirm this analysis by explicitly recognizing employer liability when sex (or race, color, religion, or national origin) is merely a “motivating factor” in the decision. When analyzing “but for” causation, sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination must necessarily be discrimination on the basis of sex:

Put differently, if changing the employee’s sex would have yielded a different choice by the employer—a statutory violation has occurred. Title VII’s message is “simple but momentous”: An individual employee’s sex is “not relevant to the selection, evaluation, or compensation of employees.” The statute’s message for our cases is equally simple and momentous: An individual’s homosexuality or transgender status is not relevant to employment decisions. That’s because it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.

Despite the plain language of Title VII, there has been significant disagreement about whether “sex” indeed covers sexual orientation and gender identity. Many states and localities have explicitly added sexual orientation and gender identity to their employment discrimination statutes to ensure coverage. Bostock extends that protection to LGBTQ workers on a federal level, and for that reason, it is, to use its own words, equally simple and momentous.

The majority opinion also addresses the argument that discriminating against both gay men and gay women cannot be sex discrimination because both sexes are equally affected. In so doing, the Court pens an analysis that is likely to be cited in other Title VII contexts as well. Specifically, the majority opinion explains that Title VII’s text prohibits discrimination against individuals, not against groups or classes. The Court notes an employer cannot defend a claim that it fired a woman for refusing sexual advances by arguing it generally treats women better than men; rather, the question is whether this particular woman was treated worse because she is a woman. As the opinion goes on to say, “Nor is it a defense for an employer to say it discriminates against both men and women because of sex. This statute works to protect individuals of both sexes from discrimination, and does so equally. So an employer who fires a woman, Hannah, because she is insufficiently feminine and also fires a man, Bob, for being insufficiently masculine may treat men and women as groups more or less equally. But in both cases the employer fires an individual in part because of sex. Instead of avoiding Title VII exposure, this employer doubles it.”

Beyond the fact that Bostock brings well-deserved protection to millions of workers, the opinion is notable for another reason: it is a 6-3 decision where two typically conservative justices joined with the Court’s more commonly liberal justices. The fact that Justice Gorsuch, a Trump appointee, is the author of the opinion will be surprising to many, but perhaps in a time of division, it is a sign of hope. Indeed, even in dissent, the Court’s newest conservative justice, Brett Kavanaugh, recognizes the enormity of the moment, saying, “Notwithstanding my concern about the Court’s transgression of the Constitution’s separation of powers, it is appropriate to acknowledge the important victory achieved today by gay and lesbian Americans. Millions of gay and lesbian Americans have worked hard for many decades to achieve equal treatment in fact and in law. They have exhibited extraordinary vision, tenacity, and grit—battling often steep odds in the legislative and judicial arenas, not to mention in their daily lives. They have advanced powerful policy arguments and can take pride in today’s result.”

Much will be written about Bostock in the days and years to come, including its potential legacy outside of Title VII. In Bostock,  the defendants argued Congress could not possibly have desired to protect gay and transgender employees in 1964. (Of course, as the opinion notes, the person who inserted sex into the statute in the first place likely never really intended to protect women, either.) The Court, while distinguishing textualism from intentionalism, reminds us that the rule of law should protect everyone:

To be sure, the  statute’s application in these cases reaches beyond the principal evil legislators may have intended or expected to address. But the fact that a statute has been applied in situations not expressly anticipated by Congress does not demonstrate ambiguity; instead, it simply demonstrates the breadth of a legislative command. But to refuse enforcement just because of that, because the parties before us happened to be unpopular at the time of the law’s passage, would not only require us to abandon our role as interpreters of statutes; it would tilt the scales of justice in favor of the strong or popular and neglect the promise that all persons are entitled to the benefit of the law’s terms.

It is so ordered.


[1]           The majority’s opinion holds open the possibility that for some employers, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act could offer a defense to a Title VII claim in this context but notes that such an issue does not appear in this case.


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