Mario Barrera has over 20 years' experience handling first chair cases and trying those cases to verdict.
As a labor and employment partner in Norton Rose Fulbright's San Antonio office, Mario has been involved in individual and class/collective actions involving:
- Race, national origin, religion and gender discrimination (including sexual harassment) and retaliation under Title VII and Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code
- Age discrimination and retaliation cases under Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code
- Workers compensation retaliation under Section 451 of the Texas Labor Code
- Misclassification and overtime claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act
- Discrimination and retaliation claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act
- Discrimination claims under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Breach of fiduciary claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration Act (OSHA)
- Restrictive Covenants (non-compete and non-solicitation)
- Employment torts and contractual claims
A portion of Mario's practice also involves rendering legal advice and opinions on a variety of issues including all facets of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wage and hour, restrictive covenants, employment agreements, separations, OSHA, ERISA and collective bargaining issues.
Mario has conducted both employment investigations and training seminars for a variety of clients.
He was certified in labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1989.
Previously, Mario was a partner with another international firm.
Mario is fluent in Spanish.
JD, The University of Texas School of Law, 1984
BA, magna cum laude, Pan American University, 1981
During law school, Mario was an Articles Editor for The Review of Litigation.
Mario is licensed to practice in Texas and before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the Federal Circuit, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of Texas and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Matters Mario has handled in recent years include:
- Defended race and national origin discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims against a private research institute in the U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division; zero award to plaintiff (2015)
- Defended disability discrimination and retaliation claims against a Catholic university at arbitration in Bexar County; zero award to claimant (2013)
- Prosecuted an Equal Pay Act claim in the U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division; jury award in favor of plaintiff (2011)
- Defended sex discrimination and retaliation claims against a Catholic hospital in the 73rd District Court, Bexar County; zero award to plaintiff (2011)
- Defended workers' compensation discrimination claim against a furniture company at arbitration in Webb County; zero award to claimant (2010)
- Defended age and religious discrimination claim against a Catholic university at arbitration in Bexar County; zero award to claimant (2009)
- Prosecuted fraud and tortious interference with business relationship claims in the 327th District Court, El Paso County; jury award in favor of plaintiff (2008)
- Defended a Chapter 21 retaliation claim against a community college district in the 408th District Court, Bexar County; zero award to plaintiff (2008)
- Defended claims of sex discrimination and retaliation against a government consulting firm in County Court at Law No. 5, El Paso County; jury found in favor of the defendant on the discrimination claim, but in favor of the plaintiff on the retaliation claim and awarded $15,000; after the trial court awarded attorneys' fees and costs, the case settled (2007)
- Defended workers' compensation discrimination claim against a leading oilfield services provider in a jury trial in the 111th District Court, Laredo/Webb County; zero award to plaintiff; plaintiff's motion for new trial denied (2005)
- Defended a Section 451 Workers' Compensation/Retaliation claim against a large garment manufacturer in the 332nd District Court, Hidalgo County; jury verdict in favor of plaintiff for $35,000 in punitive damages only; Court granted Defendant's Motion to Set Aside, case dismissed (2004)
- Defended a FMLA/Retaliation claim against a large insurance and financial services company in the U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division; three week jury trial ended in mistrial; 8-1 jury in favor of defense (2004)
- Defended a Catholic university against race and gender discrimination/assault and battery claims in the 407th District Court, Bexar County; trial demand was in excess of $3 million; jury awarded zero back pay, zero front pay, zero for gender discrimination and assault and battery claims; however, jury awarded $100,000 compensatory/mental damages and $400,000 in punitive damages; verdict reduced under statutory caps and case resolved (2004)
- Defended First and Fourteenth Amendments Discrimination/Retaliation claims against a school district in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, McAllen Division; zero award to plaintiff (2002)
- Defended workers' compensation discrimination claim against a large garment manufacturer in the 92nd District Court, Hidalgo County; zero award to plaintiff (2002)
- Defended workers' compensation discrimination claim against a curtain and drapery manufacturer in the 37th District Court, Bexar County; zero award to plaintiff (2000)
Rankings and recognitions
- Labor & Employment Star - South, Labor & Employment, Benchmark Litigation, Euromoney PLC, 2018
- Top 100, The Nation's Most Powerful Employment Attorneys, Human Resource Executive and Lawdragon, 2018
- The Best Lawyers in America, labor and employment law, Best Lawyers, 2009 - 2015, 2017-2019
- Legal 500 US, recommended lawyer, Antitrust: Civil Litigation/Class Actions, The Legal 500, 2017
- Texas Super Lawyers, Employment and Labor, Thomson Reuters, 2003 - 2004, 2014 - 2018
- San Antonio's Outstanding Lawyers, San Antonio Business Journal, 2012
- "The New College Landscape: Unionizing Grad Students," Global Workplace Insider, February 2015 (co-author with Stephen J. Romero)
- "Top 30 Whistleblowing Statutes - from Ralph Nader to Eric Snowden," Global Workplace Insider, May 2014 (co-author with James Hughes)
- "The Right Thing to Do - How to Maintain a Safe Workplace in Six Simple Steps," May/June 2014 (co-author with Jack Vaughan and Ed Kardauskaw)
- "Protecting Your Company's Greatest Assets," Shale Oil & Gas Business Magazine, December 2013 (co-author with Blake W. Stribling)
- "2013 Legislative Recaps: what new legislation means for Texas employers" June 27, 2013 (co-author with Steve J. Romero and Blake W. Stribling)
- "US Supreme Court sides with employers in two cases" June 25, 2013 (co-author with Brian S. Greig and Steve J. Romero)
- "Policing your social media policy" May/June 2013 (NSide Business Magazine)
- "Supreme Court upholds employer's strategy of picking off lead plaintiff in FLSA collective action" April 18, 2013 (co-author with Steve J. Romero)
- "Supreme Court rejects DOL's attempt to narrow outside salesperson exemption" June 19, 2012 (co-author with Steve J. Romero)
- "When a Fired Employee Reacts, Part II: Reorganizing and Transitioning the Ill Fitting Employee," Association of Corporate Counsel, May 6, 2015
- "Why the NLRB Should Matter to a Non-Union Employer," 37th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute, April 17, 2015
- "Top Ten Things Every Employer Needs to Know Before Firing an Employee," 36th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute, May 2, 2014
- "Employment Law Update," Texas Higher Education Human Resources Association, 2014 Winter Conference, January 28, 2014
- Fulbright Forefront webinar on Workplace Violence, December 11, 2013
- "How do you handle the aftermath of a disaster? Facing an OSHA investigation into a significant event," November 6, 2013
- "The Hot Area of Exempt or Non-Exempt? Key Misclassification Developments," Texas Association of Business Employment Relations Symposium, July 18, 2013
- "2013 Texas Legislative Update: How Employers Fared," Norton Rose Fulbright Employment and Labor Law Update Breakfast, June 27, 2013
- "Workplace Violence/Legislative Update, Norton Rose Fulbright Legislative Update and Trending Legal Issues for Businesses, June 18, 2013
- "Overview of OSHA, Non-Competes, Disciplinary and Discharge and Independent Contractor/Misclassification Issues," The Eagle Ford Shale: Shifting into High
- Gear Symposium, May 16, 2013
- "FLSA Update," U.S. Labor and Employee Relations Network (LERN), May 15, 2013
- "Top 10 Labor and Employment Law Developments," 35th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute, April 11 and May 2, 2013
- "Workplace Violence and Mental Health Issues," Norton Rose Fulbright Lunch and Learn Series, April 2, 2013
- "The Great Debate – To Litigate or Arbitrate Employment Claims: The Pros and Cons," Fulbright Forefront Webinar, November 14, 2012
- "American Companies Doing Business Abroad," International Law and Employment Breakfast Symposium, November 7, 2012
- "The Doctor is Now In – Complying with the PPACA after the Supreme Court Ruling," Fulbright & Jaworski, Lunch and Learn Series, October 2, 2012
- "Strategies to Managing & Minimizing FLSA Risks," San Antonio Compensation Association, June 19, 2012
- "What Happened in 2011 and What to Expect in 2012," 34th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute, April 19 and May 3, 2012
- "Strategies to Managing and Minimizing FLSA Risk," South West and South East Re-Bath Dealers Association (SWRDA & SERDA) Meeting, March 12, 2012
Memberships and activities
- American Board of Trial Advocates
- State Bar of Texas
- San Antonio Bar Association
- Certified in Labor and Employment Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization (1989)
- School Leaders Network, San Antonio Advisory Committee, (2013 - 2014)
- Joint Board of Pensions for the Southwest and Rio Grande Conferences of the United Methodist Church, (2012 - 2016)
- The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors (2007 -2018)
- Asociacion de Empresarios Mexicanos, Board of Directors (2011 - 2014)
- San Antonio Independent School District, Citizens Oversight Committee, Chair (2011 - 2016)
- San Antonio Foundation for Excellence in Education d/b/a SAISD Foundation, Board of Directors (2009 - 2016)
- Providence Place, Board of Directors (2011 - 2016)
- Friends of CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Foundation, Board of Directors (1997 - 2014)
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