Manuel Quinto-Pozos

Manuel Quinto-Pozos is a partner at Deats, Durst & Owen, where he practices employee-and union-side labor and employment law. 

Manuel represents individuals in enforcing rights protected by state and federal law, as well as those enshrined in the U.S. and state constitutions. Manuel has represented employees in cases involving discrimination (including on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex/gender, sexual orientation, age and disability), retaliation (including whistleblower cases), overtime pay, FLSA misclassification, minimum wage, and unemployment compensation, among others. 

On behalf of managerial and executive employees, Manuel advises and represents employees in negotiating and litigating issues including employment, compensation and bonus agreements, non-compete clauses, trade secrets disputes and severance agreements, among others.

Additionally, Manuel represents public- and private-sector labor unions in member grievances and arbitration (including in discipline and contract interpretation cases) and, where applicable, collective bargaining, unfair labor practices, representation elections and duty of fair representation cases and related matters.

Furthermore, Manuel has represented faculty and students at public and private educational institutions in asserting federal and state Due Process or Due Course of Law claims during, and defending against, internal conduct and integrity investigations.

Manuel is admitted to practice in all state courts in Texas and Illinois (retired since 2010), as well as in the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of Texas, the Northern District of Illinois and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Additionally, Manuel routinely practices before the National Labor Relations Board, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Texas Workforce Commission, and other state and federal agencies. 

Upon graduating from law school, Manuel was a litigation attorney at the Chicago office of Latham & Watkins, where he concentrated his work on commercial litigation. Manuel also performed a significant amount of work in employment-related areas, including discrimination claims and internal compliance investigations. He has had a long commitment to pro bono, public interest, civil rights and civil liberties work. Manuel was previously a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Texas, where he focused his work on religious liberties, free speech, privacy, and LGBT and women’s rights among other areas. 

Representative Matters

With partner Craig Deats, tried a federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) jury trial against a municipal entity on behalf of 31 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) commanders, recovering $1.1M in back pay and liquidated damages, and $359,226.90 in attorney’s fees and costs of litigation.

With his law partner Craig Deats, tried a sex and national-origin discrimination and retaliation claim to a jury in Texas state court, receiving a jury award of $751,000 in economic and compensatory damages, and an award of $240,100.00 in attorney’s fees and litigation costs and expenses.

With Phil Durst, represented a whistleblower terminated by a state agency following his reports to investigators about the legality of the agency’s recoupment of Medicaid funds, leading to an important Texas Supreme Court precedent case (McMillen v. Tex. Health & Hum. Svcs. Comm’n, et al., 485 S.W.3d 427 (Tex. 2016)), regarding the scope of the Texas Whistleblower Act. The case was settled following favorable decisions by the Texas Supreme Court and the Third Court of Appeals. 

With his law partner Martha Owen, sued a large public school district on behalf of nine individual teachers and their teachers’ union challenging as unconstitutional the use of a secret statistical “value-added model” for estimating teachers’ “effectiveness” as reflected by student test scores. The school district used the secret model to rate teachers and to threaten termination and non-renewal of contracts and for other employment decisions. During the suit, the district stopped using the model. Though the court dismissed some claims, it ruled that the plaintiffs could proceed to trial on their Due Process claim. The parties settled, and the district agreed to refrain from using the model as long as it remains unverifiable. 

Settled Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) misclassification, overtime and minimum wage claims on behalf of workers in various industries, including retail, construction, maintenance, landscaping and others. 

Successfully negotiated mutually satisfactory settlements with startups, tech and other companies on behalf of employees at executive, senior, managerial and other levels claiming discrimination, harassment, retaliation and a hostile work environment on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sex/gender, sexual orientation, age and disability, and other legally protected categories.

Reached a settlement with a local restaurant chain on behalf of an employee claiming race, ethnicity and age discrimination, as well as violations of the National Labor Relations Act.

Successfully persuaded the National Labor Relations Board to issue, and subsequently settled, Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) complaints against employers for retaliation against employees’ exercise of rights protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, refusals to furnish information to certified labor unions, refusals to bargain and other violations of the NLRA.

Represented unions and individuals retaliated against for their involvement in campaigns for union organizing and for better working conditions in the medical, fast-food, janitorial and service industries.

Settled, during litigation, a retaliation claim on behalf of a public agency employee who complained about discrimination, a harassing and hostile work environment and retaliation on the basis of his identity as a Latino.

Represented law enforcement and other state, city and county employees, in union and non-union settings, following their employers’ retaliation for engaging in activities protected by the First Amendment, including Free Speech and Association, obtaining favorable settlements during federal court litigation.

Defended public school teachers, law enforcement officers, paramedics and firefighters in internal investigations and certification and disciplinary and termination proceedings. 

Represented public university faculty, students and former students in internal academic, misconduct and disciplinary investigations and in Due Process claims. Successfully negotiated on behalf of a university graduate to prevent the revocation of a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree and advised undergraduate students in defending against academic misconduct or dishonesty allegations.

Education and Background

Manuel earned a bachelor’s degree with High Honors from the University of Texas at Austin and a law degree (Summa cum laude) from the University of Illinois College of Law. He is admitted to practice in Texas and Illinois. Manuel was born and raised in Mexico before moving to the Texas Rio Grande Valley. He is a native speaker of Spanish and highly proficient in Portuguese. 

Activities

Manuel is a member of the State Bar of Texas LGBT Law Sections and the Austin Bar Association Labor and Employment Section. He is a member of the AFL-CIO Union Lawyers’ Alliance and on the boards for the ACLU of Texas and the ACLU Foundation of Texas. He is board secretary for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Central Texas. He is also a member of the Austin Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society.

During his free time, Manuel enjoys exploring the ever-changing restaurant offerings in Austin, running marathons, and volunteering for Austin Boxer Rescue, as well as spending time with his husband and their dog “Emmy.”

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