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Trent A. Howell

Trent A. Howell

Santa Fe/New Mexico Employment & Business Litigation
  • Employment Law, Business Law
  • New Mexico, Texas
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Summary

AV civil trial lawyer of 21 years. Employment and business. Veteran New Mexico sexual harassment litigator. Serves “Time’s Up” as a member of the National Women’s Law Center Legal Network for Gender Equity, which manages the “Time’s Up” Legal Defense Fund. Former partner, with 10 years practice, in two national "Am Law 200" firms. Represents defendants and select plaintiffs. Rated AV Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell in Labor and Employment, Litigation. Certified by the New Mexico Board of Legal Specialization (2005-2010, 2017-2021) and listed as a top Employment lawyer in New Mexico's Top Rated Lawyers, Southwest Super Lawyers, Chambers USA, and Avvo. Named the New Mexico State Bar's "Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year" in 2001. www.trentahowell.com . Mr. Howell's labor & employment practice includes Title VII, Race discrimination, Ethnic discrimination, Gender/Sex discrimination, Gender-identity discrimination, Pregnancy Discrimination, Sexual harassment (quid pro quo and hostile work environment), Sexual-orientation discrimination and harassment, Religious discrimination and failure to accommodate, Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), Disability discrimination and failure to accommodate, FMLA discrimination and retaliation, Workers' Compensation retaliation, Retaliation, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") proceedings, New Mexico Human Rights Act ("NMHRA") and Human Rights Bureau ("NMHRB") proceedings, Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), Employee benefits, Wrongful discharge, Whistleblower and qui tam, Express and implied contract, Bad faith breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, Fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation, Non-Compete, Non-Disclosure, and Confidentiality Agreements.

Practice Areas
  • Employment Law
  • Business Law
Additional Practice Areas
  • Workplace harassment
  • Discrimination Law
  • Employee Benefits Litigation
Fees
  • Free Consultation
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Contingent Fees
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
New Mexico
Texas
10th Circuit
Languages
  • French
Professional Experience
Owner
Attorney Trent A. Howell
- Current
Partner
Jackson Lewis
-
Partner
Holland & Hart LLP
-
Associate
Gilkey & Stephenson
-
Associate
O'Brien & Associates
-
Education
University of Texas School of Law
University of Texas
English major, With Special Honors
Awards
Southwest Super Lawyer
Super Lawyers
10.0 out of 10.0 Rating
Avvo
America's Most Honored Professionals - Top 1%
American Registry
AV-Preeminent Rating
Martindale-Hubbell
AV-Preeminent Rating
Martindale-Hubbell
Southwest Super Lawyer
Super Lawyers
10.0 out of 10.0 Rating
Avvo
America's Most Honored Professionals - Top 1%
American Registry
Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers
Martindale - American Registry
AV-Preeminent Rating
Martindale-Hubbell
Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
Chambers & Partners
Southwest Super Lawyer
Super Lawyers
10.0 out of 10.0 Rating
Avvo
AV-Preeminent Rating
Martindale-Hubbell
Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
Chambers & Partners
10.0 out of 10.0 Rating
Avvo
Southwest SuperLawyer
Super Lawyers
AV-Preeminent Rating
Martindale-Hubbell
10.0 out of 10.0 Rating
Avvo
Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
Chambers & Partners
AV-Preeminent Rating
Martindale-Hubbell
Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
Chambers & Partners
Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
Chambers & Partners
Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
Chambers & Partners
Southwest SuperLawyer
Super Lawyers
Southwest SuperLawyer
Super Lawyers
Southwest SuperLawyer
Super Lawyers
Outstanding Bar Contribution Award
State Bar of New Mexico
Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year
State Bar of New Mexico
Professional Associations
Current
Activities: Member, American Bar Association (Labor & Employment Law and Torts & Insurance Practice Sections) Member, Defense Research Institute Member, State Bar of New Mexico (Labor & Employment Law Section; Past-Chair, Young Lawyers Division; Past-Member, Board of Bar Commissioners) Member, New Mexico Defense Lawyers Association Member, State Bar of Texas (Labor & Employment Law Section)
Defense Research Institute
Current
International Association of Defense Counsel
Current
New Mexico Defense Lawyers Association
Current
American Bar Association
Current
New Mexico Defense Lawyers Association
Member, Board of Directors
-
State Bar of New Mexico
Member, Board of Bar Commissioners
-
New Mexico Young Lawyers Division
Chair, Board of Directors
-
Publications
Articles & Publications
Developing Labor Law (Cum. Supp. 2008)
BNA Books
ERISA Survey of Federal Circuits (2007)
American Bar Association
Charge-Barring Agreements Retaliatory?
Defense Research Institute, The Voice
ERISA Survey of Federal Circuits (2005)
American Bar Association
Developing Labor Law (Cum. Supp. 2004)
BNA Books
Developing Labor Law (Cum. Supp. 2003)
BNA Books
ERISA Preemption of Bad Faith Claims Following Kentucky Association of Healthplans, Inc. v. Miller
American Bar Association, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Committee, e-Tips News
Certifications
Employment & Labor Law Specialist (2005 - 2010)
New Mexico Board of Legal Specialization
Employment & Labor Law Specialist (2017 - 2021)
New Mexico Board of Legal Specialization
Websites & Blogs
Website
Website
Blog
TrentAHowell.com/blog
Legal Answers
28 Questions Answered

Q. I was sent a proposed removal from the VA. I need to know what my rights are if any? I have had no prior write ups.
A: In general, an employer must provide certain notices and responses to employees regarding FMLA leave. See, e.g., https://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs28d.pdf . In addition, it is unlawful and gives rise to a particular cause of action if the employer terminates an employee in retaliation for exercising or attempting to exercise FMLA rights. See, e.g., 29 U.S. Code § 2615 and § 2617. This is not legal advice to you, but a general idea of the law. Whether and how it applies to you would depend on the details of your employment.
Q. If you are placed on a permanent night shift does your employer have to pay you shift differential?
A: In general, unless the employer has entered an agreement to continue a rate of pay or benefits for a certain period as to a certain job description and duties, an employer can change the rate of pay, benefits, and job description and duties going forward. However, you mention this "is a government contract," and sometimes such contracts and/or related documents require certain pay for certain positions. This is not legal advice to you, but a general idea of the law. Whether and how it applies to you would depend on the details of your employment.
Q. Can my employer make me pay for something as pretty as a broken liquor bottle?
A: In general, New Mexico "tort"/"negligence" law makes a person liable to anyone whom he causes accidental damage - whether at work, or anywhere else. Whether it is worth anyone's time to file or fight a lawsuit over a broken liquor bottle is a different question. This is not legal advice to you, but a general idea of the law. Whether and how it applies to you would depend on the details of your employment.
Q. I was fired the day after a work related injury on a false accusation. Can I file a lawsuit?
A: There is a statute prohibiting employers from terminating employees "for the sole reason that that employee seeks workers' compensation benefits." New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Retaliation Statute, NMSA § 52-1-28.2. Whether and how it applies to you would depend on the details of your employment.
Q. I work as a store manager for an automotive parts company does the salary go by new law of 913 a week minimum.
A: While there have been recent bills in the New Mexico Senate and House of Representatives to raise it, in general, the state-wide minimum wage by state law is still $7.50 per hour. NM Stat § 50-4-22 (2016). But some cities (e.g., Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and Santa Fe) impose a higher minimum wage by local ordinance. Whether and how these apply to you would depend on the details of your employment.
Q. My employer condones and actively participates in foul language when addressing me as a female employee.
A: Depending on the circumstances, a "hostile environment" can amount to discrimination under the New Mexico Human Rights Act (“NMHRA”), NMSA § 28-1-1 et seq., and/or Title VII. In Ocana v. American Furniture Co., 135 N.M. 539, 91 P.3d 58, 66 (2004), the New Mexico Supreme Court explained: sexual harassment is actionable under a hostile work environment theory when the offensive conduct becomes so severe and pervasive that it alters the conditions of employment in such a manner that the workplace is transformed into a hostile and abusive environment for the employee. In determining whether there was an abusive or hostile work environment, courts must look at the totality of the circumstances, including "the frequency of the discriminatory conduct; its severity; whether it is physically threatening or humiliating, or a mere offensive utterance; and whether it unreasonably interferes with an employee's work performance." The work environment must be both objectively and subjectively offensive—one that a reasonable person would find hostile or abusive and one that the employee did perceive as being hostile or abusive. Ocana, 91 P.3d at 66 (citations omitted). This is not legal advice to you, but a general idea of the law. Whether and how it applies to you would depend on the details of your employment.
Q. I think I am being retaliated against by my pharmacy manager because I went to upper management about her.what can I do
A: A number of statutes prohibit public and privates employers from retaliating against employees for making certain types of internal complaints. Two statutes commonly involved with such claims are the New Mexico Human Rights Act (“NMHRA”), NMSA § 28-1-1 et seq. and the New Mexico Whistleblower Protection Act (“NMWPA”), NMSA § 10-16C-1 et seq. This is not legal advice to you, but a general idea of the law. Whether and how it applies to you would depend on the details of your employment.
Q. Can I withhold money from a terminated employees final paycheck?
A: In general, NM Stat § 50-4-2 (2016) limits the extent and manner in which an employer can withhold earned pay from employee paychecks. This is not legal advice to you, but a general idea of the law. Whether and how it applies to you would depend on the details of your employment.
Q. I applied at a restaurant a few weeks back. My partner works there too. The owner told my partner that he wasn't
A: In certain situations, New Mexico Human Rights Act ("NMHRA"), NMSA § 28-1-1 et seq., requires an employer to consider an applicant for a position regardless of "spousal affiliation" or sexual orientation. In addition, if the employer retains some employees and terminates others based on their "couple" status, there may be a question of whether the employer is applying this standard in a discriminatory way. This is not legal advice to you, but a general idea of the law. Whether and how it applies to you would depend on the details of your employment.
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Contact & Map
Office Location
P.O. Box 2304
Santa Fe, NM 87504
USA
Telephone: (505) 919-9158
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