Texas Employment Law Update

Texas Employment Law Update

A Resource for Texas Employers

Category Archives: News & Commentary

Subscribe to News & Commentary RSS Feed

Light Duty Policies Limited to On-the-Job Injuries Going the Way of the Dinosaur

Posted in Human Resources, News & Commentary
As I wrote several months ago, light duty programs limiting participation to employees recovering from on-the-job injuries are being increasingly scrutinized by the EEOC (See post here) and that we have likely seen the end of those polices.   The Washington Post reports today that UPS, despite having a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court … Continue Reading

Texas Employee Awarded $11.6M by Austin Jury in Defamation Case

Posted in News & Commentary
It’s a rare day in Texas where a single-plaintiff employment case results in a seven or eight figure jury verdict.  However, as the Austin Business Journal recently reported,Microsoft was hit with an $11.6M jury verdict in a defamation case filed by a former employee falsely accused of sexually harassing a Microsoft contractor. Defamation cases can be … Continue Reading

Ebola Discovered in Texas: What Employers Need to Know

Posted in Human Resources, News & Commentary
As every national news program has announced, the Ebola virus has been diagnosed in a North Texas patient. This is the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States.  According to reports, the Liberian national traveled from Liberia through Brussels, Washington D.C., to Dallas, Texas where he was eventually diagnosed with the virus.  Given that … Continue Reading

Broad Definition of Disability Can Provide Some Advantages for Employers in Disability Suits

Posted in Disability, News & Commentary
The Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act greatly expanded the definition of what constitutes a disability.  Consequently, it increased the number of employees who qualify for the protections of the Act (or as I often lament, we’re all disabled).  A positive consequence of this broad definition of disability for defendant-employers is the increased likelihood that in any disability discrimination case, the … Continue Reading

Adrian Peterson Situation Spotlights Dilemma Employers Face Frequently.

Posted in Human Resources, News & Commentary
Our family has a fantasy football league and my 13 year old son Benjamin drafted Adrian Peterson in the pre-season draft. Earlier this week when the Minnesota Vikings activated Peterson to play this weekend, Benjamin was faced with a decision many employers have to make; whether to allow an employee who has been charged, but not … Continue Reading

NFL Could Take a Lesson from Human Resources in Conducting Investigations

Posted in Human Resources, News & Commentary
Yesterday TMZ released shocking video of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking his then-fiancée out in a casino elevator. Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner had, following the league’s investigation, given Rice a two-game suspension for the incident of domestic violence. Following the release of the in-elevator footage, Goodell suspended Rice indefinitely from the league.  You … Continue Reading

EEOC Issues New Enforcement Guidance on Reasonable Accommodation of Pregnant Employees

Posted in Discrimination, News & Commentary
Several weeks ago, I wrote that the Supreme Court’s decision to grant certiorari in Young v. UPS (the case about an employer’s reasonable accommodation obligation to pregnant employees under the PDA) might end up signaling the end of light duty policies that limited  light duty availability to employees with worker’s compensation injuries or illnesses.  (post here).  Today, the EEOC issued new … Continue Reading

Employers Should Dot Their I’s and Cross Their T’s When Using Consumer Reporting Information

Posted in News & Commentary
According to Law360, Home Depot has been sued in a Georgia federal court in a putative class action alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) for improperly using consumer reports and background checks. Law360 reports (subscription required) that the suit alleges that the retailer uses consumer reporting information to make employment decisions on applicants and employees without … Continue Reading

Breaking News: U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Important Case on Reasonable Accomodation for Pregnant Employees

Posted in News & Commentary, Reasonable Accommodation
The U.S. Supreme Court just concluded its 2013-14 term and is already creating a buzz over the cases it will hear when it convenes again this October.  Today, the Court agreed to hear a case involving whether and to what extent pregnant employees are entitled to reasonable accommodations for conditions related to their pregnancy.  The case … Continue Reading

Which Employees Should Receive the Most Rigorous Background Check?

Posted in Human Resources, News & Commentary
Employers conduct variety of background checks on employees and applicants depending on the level of hire and the duties performed. Of the background checks that employers conduct, which category of employees should receive the most rigorous background checks –the CEO, Comptroller, Treasurer? All worthy choices.  As the Edward Snowden NSA leak teaches, those who have broad access … Continue Reading

Texas House of Representatives Approve Social Media Password Legislation

Posted in News & Commentary, Social Media
Texas has a reputation for being business friendly.  More often than not, the Texas Legislature refrains from passing legislation providing solutions for nonexistent problems.  However, a recent bill, passed by the Texas House and submitted to the Texas Senate would prohibit Texas employers from requesting social media user names and passwords from applicants and employees, addresses a problem … Continue Reading

Texas Legislature Opens 83rd Regular Session

Posted in Legislation, News & Commentary
Last week the Texas Legislature opened its 83rd regular session.  The Texas Legislature meets every other year and only for 140 days.  Here are the labor and employment related bills that have been introduced that may eventually effect Texas employers.  I will supplement this post with newly filed bills during the session. HB 372 (Deshotel) (Relating to … Continue Reading

Texas Law Limits Employer’s Ability to Prohibit CHL Employees From Possessing Firearms in Company’s Parking Lots

Posted in Human Resources, News & Commentary
Since the shooting this weekend in Newtown, Connecticut, I have received several questions regarding a Texas employer’s right to ban or prohibit firearms on company property.  Without debating the wisdom of such a decision or the likelihood that the mentally ill who generally participate in mass shooting will abide by those restrictions, Texas law generally … Continue Reading

States Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Possession Have Little Effect on Texas Employers

Posted in Human Resources, News & Commentary
Last month Washington and Colorado voters passed state laws authorizing the legalization of recreational marijuana use. Given that there are pockets of the United States where the medical or recreational use of marijuana is legal or tolerated under state law, some Texas employers have asked whether it has any effect on their drug testing or … Continue Reading

Health Care Reform: What Lays Ahead with the Affordable Care Act

Posted in Human Resources, News & Commentary
Now that the election is over and most of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is likely to take effect, some employer will want to revisit the new obligations and requirements of the Act.  On November 30, 2012, our firm is presenting a complimentary webinar titled "Health Care Reform:  What Lays Ahead with the Affordable Care Act?"  My … Continue Reading

Guest Post: Employers May Be Immune from Liability in Certain Suits Brought by Farm Workers

Posted in News & Commentary
My colleague, Alison Rowe, is what I affectionately call a horse lawyer.  Actually, Alison practices Equine Law (which broadly includes a diverse area of transactional and litigation issues involving farm, ranch, agricultural and real and personal property issues) and is recognized as a "go to"  authority on this subject area in Texas.  She also happens to publish the … Continue Reading

Employment Law Issues Affecting Nonprofit Organizations

Posted in News & Commentary
Yesterday, I had the privilege of speaking to the Texas Society of CPAs, Tarrant County Chapter, Nonprofit Study Group on current employment law issues affecting nonprofit organizations. Some of the topics we covered included the use of volunteers and unpaid interns by nonprofit organizations, proper classification of independent contractors and employees, and employment policies that are useful for nonprofits to adopt.     If … Continue Reading

Helping Returning Veterans: Doing What You Can.

Posted in News & Commentary
Last week I had the privilege of volunteering at my firm’s pro bono legal clinic at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  The clinic provides pro bono legal services and advice to our country’s veterans.  The veterans who served have a wide variety of need for legal advice –primarily in the area of family law, estate and … Continue Reading

Has the Expanded Definition of Disability under the ADAA Gone Too Far?

Posted in Disability, News & Commentary
Daniel Schwartz at the Connecticut Employment Law Blog has an interesting post today about the effect the American Psychiatric Association’s proposed changes the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual could have to the Connecticut body of disability discrimination law.  While Connecticut is unique, according to Schwartz, in its definition of disability and expressly includes mental conditions listed in … Continue Reading

TXANS to Host 22nd Annual Conference and Exhibition

Posted in News & Commentary
The Texas Association of Responsible Nonsubscribers (TXANS) Texas’ leading proponent of sound and ethical practices relating to injury prevention and the provision of quality workplace injury benefits by non-subscribers to workers’ compensation.  TXANS is hosting its 22nd Annual Nonsubscriber Conference and Exhibition March 22, 2012 in Austin, Texas.  I’ll be speaking at the conference.   Some … Continue Reading