Practice and Industry Groups

Merritt B. Chastain, III

Shareholder Houston

Merritt Chastain practices in the area of labor and employment law in federal and state courts. He represents management in employment discrimination litigation, Occupation Safety and Health Act citation litigation, litigation under the Employment Retirement Income Security Act and related matters. He also litigates claims involving misappropriation of trade secrets, violation of covenants not to compete and breach of employment agreements.

Mr. Chastain counsels corporate clients on all aspects of employment law, including the federal and state discrimination laws, OSHA, the federal and state wage and hour laws, and other laws pertaining to the employment relationship. He has drafted employee handbooks and policies, employment agreements, arbitration agreements, alternative dispute resolution programs and executive compensation agreements.

Mr. Chastain also represents management in union disputes, including union organizing and decertification campaigns, collective bargaining, labor arbitrations, and unfair labor practice proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board.


Mr. Chastain regularly represents corporate clients in trials in federal and state court and has argued before the Texas Supreme Court, the Texas Court of Appeals and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Some of his representative matters include the following:

  • Argued before the Texas Supreme Court and obtained a unanimous decision in a case involving alleged unpaid stock options and a complex jurisdictional dispute (also has argued before various other Texas Court of Appeals, as well as the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, with favorable results).
  • Achieved favorable judgments in two multiemployee disparate impact and disparate treatment age and race discrimination lawsuits (one of which involved 35 plaintiffs).
  • Received favorable judgments in several OSHA trials, including several employee death cases and cases in which the penalties exceeded $1 million.
  • Handled class action and collective action lawsuits under ERISA, the federal discrimination laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act (including successful litigation of class certification and negotiation of settlements).
  • Achieved favorable judgments in other lawsuits involving race discrimination, sexual harassment, age discrimination and other forms of discrimination prohibited under federal and state law.
  • Obtained summary judgments and dismissals in numerous cases involving all aspects of employment discrimination and common law claims related to the employment relationship.

Professional Activities and Speeches

Professional Activities:

  • State Bar of Texas
  • American Bar Association (Labor & Employment Section)
  • Houston Bar Association (Spring Family Events Committee)
  • Houston Young Lawyers Association
  • Houston Management Lawyers Forum
  • Texas Association of Business (Director)
  • Rotary Club, Houston (Lombardi Committee, Fresh Start Committee, Scholarship Committee)
  • Pro Bono Legal Services for: Houston Ballet Foundation, Houston Symphony Society, Houston Volunteer Lawyers Program
  • Habitat for Humanity (Volunteer)
  • Articles Editor, South Texas Law Review (1994-1995)
  • Assistant Articles Editor, South Texas Law Review (1993-1994)

Published Works



Media Quotes

1998 - Second Cumulative Supplement (Jordan, ed.) - "The Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and 1871, Employment Discrimination Law"
1997 - Tex. Lab. Letter - "Applicant Screening: Prohibitions and Necessary Inquiries"
November 1995 - S. Tex. L. Rev. (Banner Pub. Co.) - "The Guiding Light or Simply More Disarray?: A Principled Analysis of the After-Acquired Evidence Doctrine After McKennon v. Nashville"