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Texas Employment Law Update

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Category Archives: News & Commentary

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DOJ to Criminally Prosecute Employers and Individuals that Reach Hiring and Wage Agreements under Federal Antitrust Law

Posted in News & Commentary, Noncompetes and Restrictive Covenants
At the end of October, the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) communicated a significant shift in their enforcement guidance regarding competition among employers to limit or fix terms of employment for potential hires.  In a new publication, Antitrust Guidance for Human Resource Professionals, the DOJ announced its intent to investigate,… Continue Reading

New Developments in Employee Hiring and Noncompetition

Posted in News & Commentary, Noncompetes and Restrictive Covenants
Last week brought several interesting developments on the issue of restrictive covenants and hiring of employees among competitors including 1) the White House’s call to action (CTA) for the States to restrict use of covenants not to compete; 2) the Department of Justice’s announcement that it intends to criminally prosecute employers and executives entering into wage-fixing and… Continue Reading

EEOC to Target Companies Using Non-traditional Working Relationships

Posted in Discrimination, News & Commentary, Wage & Hour
Yesterday, the EEOC published its four-year Strategic Enforcement Plan for fiscal years 2017 through 2021.  The Plan is the Commission’s list of areas of priority where it intends to focus its resources in the next four years.  The purpose of the Plan is to identify those areas the Commission believes are likely to have a… Continue Reading

DOL Publishes Final Rule Requiring Federal Contractors to Provide Paid Sick Leave

Posted in Employee Benefits, News & Commentary
This week the DOL published its final rule requiring federal contractors to provide paid sick leave to employees working on or in connection with federal contracts.  The sick leave required by the final rule would allow an employee to use accrued paid sick leave for their own illness, the need to care for a sick… Continue Reading

Expect a Showdown at the Supreme Court over Class Action Waivers in the Employment Context

Posted in Arbitration, Jury Waivers, News & Commentary
Arbitration agreements containing class action waivers can be an effective way for employers to mitigate risk against defending large scale mass actions filed by employees. And in the Fifth Circuit, the federal Court of Appeals covering Texas, and three other federal circuits, individual arbitration agreement containing class-action waivers are enforceable. In a recent Seventh Circuit Court of… Continue Reading

DOL Announces Details of Final Rule Changing Regulations on the Overtime Exemptions

Posted in Human Resources, News & Commentary, Wage & Hour
Last night the U.S. Department of Labor announced details of its long-awaited Final Rule on changes to the regulations interpreting the overtime exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  The FLSA is the federal law requiring most employers to pay minimum wages and overtime to nonexempt employees.  The Final Rule raises the minimum salary an exempt… Continue Reading

EEOC Publishes Resource on Employer-Provided Leave and the Americans with Disabilities Act

Posted in Disability, Leave of Absence, News & Commentary
This week the EEOC published a resource document intended to provide guidance on providing disabled employees with leave of absence as a reasonable accommodation. According to the Commission, [It] continues to receive charges indicating that some employers may be unaware of Commission positions about leave and the ADA.  For example, some employers may not know… Continue Reading

Austin, Texas Passes Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance for Private Employers

Posted in Human Resources, News & Commentary
The City of Austin, Texas has joined the long list of municipalities nationally that have adopted ordinances restricting employers ability to make inquiries into an applicant’s criminal background and to act on that information.  Under Austin’s new Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance, an employer with fifteen or more employees in the City of Austin may not: publish… Continue Reading

Paying Nonexempt Employees at Different Rates for Different Work

Posted in News & Commentary, Wage & Hour
With the slowdown in the oil patch, many service providers are looking for ways to better match employee compensation with reduced amount of work and revenue available without having to reduce headcount.  One way to accomplish this objective is to pay different rates for different work.  For example, a company may elect to pay a nonexempt employee a… Continue Reading

If Your Company Circulates This Memo, You Might Have and HR Problem

Posted in News & Commentary
According to a recent Vanity Fair article, Zenefits, the company providing cloud-based HR administration systems, circulated a memo to its workforce advising employees that it was against company policy to have sex in the stairwells at work.  The memo “warned staff that smoking, drinking, and having sex was inappropriate office behavior after security found several used… Continue Reading

AT&T Warning Employees to Update Skills or Become Obsolete?

Posted in News & Commentary, Wage & Hour
The New York Times profiled AT&T’s corporate education program where the company offers to pay for all or part of the classes employees take to help modernize their skills. The program has been in place for approximately two years and the purpose of the program, according to the article, is to “retrain its 280,000 employees so they… Continue Reading

EEOC Announces New Procedures for Disclosing Employer Position Statements to Plaintiff Attorneys

Posted in News & Commentary
Last week the EEOC announced that it had issued new practices for transmitting employer position statements to charging parties and their attorneys.  Historically, most Commission field offices did not provide copies of the actual position statements to the charging parties during the course of the investigation.  Rather, investigators typically retyped or summarized relevant positions of the position statement… Continue Reading

Halliburton Agrees to $18M Overtime Settlement with DOL

Posted in News & Commentary, Wage & Hour
The DOL announced a wage and hour settlement with Halliburton where Halliburton agrees to pay over $18,000,000 to over 1,000 workers.  This settlement emphasizes two important points for me.  First, it exemplifies the difficulty even large, publically traded companies can have in determining whether an employee meets one of the white collar exemptions.  The announced settlement covers employees in the job titles… Continue Reading

Congress Should Provide Employers with Immunity to Identify and Correct Wage and Hour Mistakes

Posted in News & Commentary, Wage & Hour
One of the many problems with the Fair Labor Standards Act (the federal law that requires most employee be paid at least a minimum wage and overtime) is that it provides little incentive for employers that discover honest wage and hour mistakes such as a misclassification or a failure to correctly calculate overtime to fix those mistakes. … Continue Reading

Proper Planning Now Can Lead to Complaint-Free Company Holiday Party

Posted in Human Resources, News & Commentary, Uncategorized
I’m sitting here trying to come up with an idea for this year’s family holiday card.  Last year’s theme was “Silent Night”.  But while I think about what I need to be doing to prepare for the holidays, I’m reminded that many employers are also planning their company end-of-year parties.  So, from the archieves are 9 tips to consider when… Continue Reading

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