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Trent A. Howell

Trent A. Howell

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

AV civil trial lawyer of 20 years. Employment and discrimination, employee-benefits, and business litigation and ADR. 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, 2015-2020) 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
  • Insurance Defense
  • Business Law
Additional Practice Areas
  • Employee Benefits Litigation
  • Discrimination Law
  • Workplace harassment
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
Sawtell Wirth & Biedscheid, P.C.
-
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
Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers
Martindale - American Registry
Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
Chambers & Partners
Southwest Super Lawyer
Super Lawyers
10.0 out of 10.0 Rating
Avvo
Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
Chambers & Partners
10.0 out of 10.0 Rating
Avvo
Southwest SuperLawyer
Super Lawyers
10.0 out of 10.0 Rating
Avvo
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
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 (2015 - 2020)
New Mexico Board of Legal Specialization
Websites & Blogs
Website
Website
Blog
TrentAHowell.com/blog
Legal Answers
13 Questions Answered

Q. In NM, is it legal to allow independant contractors to wear the business logo of the company that hires them?
A: Someone is confusing the issue. The question is not whether it is "legal," but whether wearing a company logo may suggest an individual is an employee rather than an independent contractor of that company. There are different definitions and factors to determine "employee" status under different statutes. For example, the IRS has a 20-factor test, and courts consider several other factors under the FLSA (federal minimum wage law). Wearing a company logo, alone, is not enough to make someone an employee, without considering the other circumstances of the relationship.
Q. Is there a case of False Advertisement or Bait and Switch?
A: New Mexico recognizes a claim for basic fraud on proof of (1) a misrepresentation of fact, (2) either knowledge of the falsity of the representation or recklessness on the part of the party making the misrepresentation, (3) intent to deceive and to induce reliance on the misrepresentation, and (4) detrimental reliance on the misrepresentation. See UJI 13-1633 NMRA. New Mexico also does recognize a claim of "fraud in the inducement" of an agreement as grounds to void that agreement. Whether and how these laws apply to you depends on the specific details of your employment.
Q. I applied for job at a FQHC clinic in nm. They are saying they can't hire me because my great uncle is a board member???
A: An entity that is a “Federally Qualified Health Center” (FQHC) under Medicare and Medicaid statutes operates under certain federal regulations that may prohibit certain conflicts of interest, which may include nepotism in certain situations. Whether those regulations apply to you would depend on the details of the clinic and the potential workplace interactions between yourself and your great uncle. EEOC generally would not be involved in such a situation, unless you could demonstrate the stated reason for refusing to hire you is a pretext for discrimination on grounds of race, ethnicity, etc. (a category protected under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, etc.)
Q. haven't got paid
A: Depending whether he is an employee and how his "employment" ended, a person not timely paid for past work done has a number of remedies, which in some situations include "continuing wages" and attorney fees. Whether these laws apply to you depends on the details of your work relationship.
Q. I quit my job does my ex boss have the right to pay me minimum wage even though I made more than that
A: In general, for work already done, an employer must pay whatever rate of pay was agreed upon before the work was done. Unless the employer has also entered an agreement to continue a rate of pay for a certain period of time into the future, an employer can change the rate of pay going forward, but in no case decrease the amount below any applicable minimum wage. 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. It is allowed to pay youth participants in summer youth program stipends vs an hourly wage.
A: Depending on the nature and size of the employer, this question may involve both federal and state law. As to New Mexico law, the local agency responsible for enforcing minimum wage laws has posted some helpful information on its website: http://www.dws.state.nm.us/Job-Seeker/Career-Exploration/Internships/Internship-FAQs
Q. My background was pulled and i was fired. An employee not with HR read and told me what was on it. Is it a Privacy Issue
A: New Mexico does generally recognize the tort of "invasion of privacy," and in some situations, a "public" disclosure of private facts establishes such a violation. Federal and state law also place some limitations on what types and ages of criminal history a "credit bureau" may list on a credit report. New Mexico law requires the credit bureau to delete certain unverifiable information "as soon as practical." See NMSA 56-3-6(A). New Mexico law also restricts the manner in which a business, profession, or individual - including employers - may use information obtained from a credit bureau. Allowing access by an employee outside of HR may or may not violate these restrictions, depending on why the employee was given or obtained access. See NMSA 56-3-7. In some cases, New Mexico law provides remedies against persons who misuse the information, including actual damages, punitive damages, and attorney's fees. See id. In addition, certain authorities take the position that employment actions based on a history of arrests, versus convictions, may have a disparate impact - and thereby tend to prove discrimination against - minority classes. Whether and how these laws apply to your situation would depend on the details of your employment, background, and situation. This is a general discussion of laws, and it is not legal advice to you.
Q. How far back do background checks go?
A: In addition to limitations under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, New Mexico Statute Section 56-3-6 generally places some limits on the information "credit bureaus" can list, such as limiting reporting of bankruptcies to no longer than 14 years, collection accounts no longer than 7 years, and arrest and convictions no longer than 7 years.
Q. Can my employer take my PTO Ive accrued in the year and 2 months I've been employed as a full time employee ?
A: In certain situations, the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq., and/or New Mexico Human Rights Act ("NMHRA"), NMSA § 28-1-1 et seq., entitle an employee to unpaid time off for medical procedures and prohibit the employer from retaliating after the employee does so. In addition, depending how/when vacation time was "accrued," it may be regarded as compensation that the employer cannot, after the fact, take away. Whether and how these laws apply to you would depend on the details of your employment and situation.
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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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Taos