Texas Employment Law Update

Texas Employment Law Update

A Resource for Texas Employers

Category Archives: Wage & Hour

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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

Use the New Overtime Rules to Correct Misclassified Workers

Posted in Human Resources, Wage & Hour
This week the DOL announced changes to the white collar overtime exemptions that take effect December 1, 2016. Every employment lawyer with a newsletter, blog or soapbox has written some summary of the new regulations. And while the regulations only effect the executive, administrative, professional and high compensated exemptions, Daniel Schwartz, a Connecticut employment lawyer… 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

From the Archives: Spring Break Edition

Posted in Wage & Hour
While many of the kids (and a few employment law attorneys) are on Spring Break, I thought I would dust off a few posts from the archives.  Back in 2009 I wrote about the rules that apply to the payment of accrued but unused vacation time on termination of employment in Texas.  If you are not on… 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

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

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

DOL Issues Administrator Interpretation on Misclassification of Independent Contrators

Posted in Wage & Hour
I’ve written several times on the topic of employee v. independent contractor misclassification (here, here, here, here, here, here).  Yesterday, the DOL issued an Administrator’s Interpretation attempting to provide additional guidance, and the Department’s opinion, on the application of the standards for determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor.  The Interpretation implies… Continue Reading

12 Signs You May Have a Wage and Hour Problem (and Should Call an Employment Lawyer Now)

Posted in Human Resources, Wage & Hour
There has been an explosion of wage and hour collective actions failed against Texas employers in the last five years.  This has been particularly prevalent in the oil field services sector.  If you are a Texas employer, and using any of 12 pay practices below, you should consult with an employment lawyer to ensure you… Continue Reading

Don’t Forget to Consider Whether Year-End Bonuses Trigger Overtime Adjustments

Posted in Wage & Hour
As we get to the end of the year, management committees and corporate boards are in the process of approving year-end bonuses for employees.  A frequently overlooked wage and hour mistake is failing to include non-discretionary bonuses in the regular rate of pay for non-exempt employees. In calculating the regular rate of pay on which… 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

Fifth Circuit Rejects Argument that Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements Violate the NLRA

Posted in Arbitration, Case Summaries, Wage & Hour
I first wrote about the NLRB’s decision that pre-dispute arbitration agreements waiving the right to assert claims as part of a class action violated federal labor law in January 2012 (post).  Back then, I thought it was prudent for employers to wait for the result of the the inevitable appeal that would follow before revising or… Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Confirms Use of Fluctuating Workweek Method of Overtime Calculation in Misclassification Case

Posted in Case Summaries, Wage & Hour
In settlement negotiations and trial of FLSA overtime misclassification cases, there is usually a disagreement between the parties as to how the unpaid overtime should be calculated. Attorneys representing employees typically want overtime calculated using a 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for each overtime hour that was worked. Attorneys representing companies typically want to utilize… Continue Reading

U.S Supreme Court Hold’s Employer’s Offer of Full-Relief to FLSA Plaintiff Moots Putative Collective Action

Posted in Case Summaries, Wage & Hour
In what could become an important case for employers faced with FLSA wage and hour collective actions, the United States Supreme Court held that a named plaintiff who rejects an offer of judgment for full relief before any other party joins the action cannot continue to pursue the claims on behalf of the putative class because the… Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Holds Employer’s Mandatory Travel Program Does Not Constitute Compensable Travel Time

Posted in Wage & Hour
Yesterday the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, a judgment for an employer who was sued by its employees for travel time that the employer did not include as working time.   Its a complicated set of facts and you can read Griffen v. S&B Engineers and Constructors, Ltd. here if you’re interested.  While most employers don’t have travel time issues nearly as… Continue Reading

A Broken Clock is Right Twice Per Day: Supreme Court of Texas Holds Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Does Not Apply to Claims under State Law

Posted in Case Summaries, Discrimination, Wage & Hour
I wrote back in April 2010 that I thought the Houston Court of Appeals decision in Prarie View A&M v. Chatha applying the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (“Ledbetter Act”) to claims arising under the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA) was wrongly decided. Last month the Supreme Court of Texas agreed with me… Continue Reading

Finally, Private Litigants Can Settle Bona Fide FLSA Disputes Without DOL or Court Supervision!

Posted in Case Summaries, Wage & Hour
Some of you may be surprised to learn that conventional wisdom was that claims arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act (the federal law requiring the payment of minimum wage and overtime to most employees) cannot be released or waived without court or Department of Labor supervision. I certainly thought that until several years ago when I had… Continue Reading

Paying Texas Employees Using Debit Cards

Posted in Human Resources, Wage & Hour
Some employers have experimented using debit card payroll systems to decrease their payroll processing and administration costs.  Frequently, Texas employers ask whether they can pay their Texas employees using debit cards.  The answer is "yes" but only with the employee consent. Texas law provides that employees must be paid in one of four forms: In U.S. currency;… Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Holds 24 Hour Fitness Arbitration Agreement Illusory and Unenforcable

Posted in Arbitration, Case Summaries, Wage & Hour
24 Hour Fitness operates health clubs and fitness facilities across the country.  As part of its operations, 24 Hour Fitness employs sales representatives.  As a condition of employment, employees are required to enter into arbitration agreements to arbitrate their employment disputes with their employer.  FLSA claims (i.e., overtime and minimum wage claims) are covered within the scope of the… Continue Reading

End-of-Year Bonuses, the Regular Rate of Pay and Overtime

Posted in Wage & Hour
With many employers considering whether and when to pay end-of-year or holiday bonuses, I thought it was a good time to review the rules for when bonuses or other compensation must be included in the regular rate of pay for purposes of paying overtime.  This is one issue that still trips up Texas employers. Nonexempt employees are entitled to overtime… Continue Reading