Texas Employment Law Update

Texas Employment Law Update

A Resource for Texas Employers

Tag Archives: @RussellCawyer

Employers Using On-line Acknowledgments to Enter Arbitration Agreements May Face Problems of Proof

Posted in Arbitration, Case Summaries
Texas law favors the resolution of disputes using alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as arbitration.  To compel an employee’s claim to arbitration, the employer need only show that a valid agreement to arbitrate exists and the claims asserted by the employee fall within the scope of the agreement.  Many companies utilize technology such as online applications 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

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

DOL Publishes The Employer’s Guide to the FMLA: And its Pretty Good!

Posted in Leave of Absence
Last week the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division published The Employer’s Guide to the FMLA. The Department intended the Guide to be an informational resource to “provide essential information about the FMLA” and increase employer’s knowledge of the law, obligations and options available to employers administering FMLA leave. The Guide is broken out by section… 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

HR Directors Beware: You Too Can be Sued for FMLA Violations

Posted in Case Summaries, Human Resources, Leave of Absence
A recent case from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals should remind HR Directors (and supervisors) to be particularly vigilant in handling employee FMLA leaves of absence. In Graziadio v. Culinary Institute of America, the appellate court reversed a trial court victory for the employer and the two individual supervisors (one of whom was the HR… Continue Reading

From the Archives: Spring Break Edition II

Posted in Human Resources
In today’s From the Archives: Spring Break Edition, we go back to a 2011 post to remind employers why it is a good idea for managers and supervisors to stick to a neutral reference policy when providing employment references on former employees.  In Managers and Supervisors Should Follow Their Employer’s Neutral Reference Policies, I mentioned a company… 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

Houston Court of Appeals Holds that Allegation of Constructive Discharge Must be Included in the Charge of Discrimination

Posted in Case Summaries, Race, Retaliation, Sex and Gender
In an opinion likely to prove useful to employers defending a termination based on a constructive discharge theory, a Houston Court of Appeals held that a resigning employee whose charge of discrimination lacks an allegation of constructive discharge, fails to exhaust his administrative remedies on that theory.  In court of appeals opinion, Parker was an African American pharmacy supervisor for the… 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

Court of Appeals Holds that Notes of Counsel’s Communications with EPL Carrier are Privileged

Posted in Case Summaries
In an important case for any employer that has Employment Practices Liability (EPL) coverage (and lawyers that represent clients with EPL insurance), the Dallas Court of Appeals recently held that the communications between an employer’s in-house counsel and its EPL insurance adjuster were privileged communications and exempted from discovery.  In In re Texas Health Resources, the… Continue Reading

Texas Legislature Passes Stolen Valor Act

Posted in Legislation
During the 84th Legislative Session, the Texas Legislature passed an employment provision that allows employers to end the employment of employees that have misrepresented their military record.  While most Texas employees are at-will, this law will likely have little impact, however, it does provide the voiding of written contracts with employees where the employee has… 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

Texas Legislature Adds Sexual Harassment Protection for Unpaid Interns

Posted in Harassment, Legislation, Uncategorized
Another legislative session ended with few changes affecting Texas employers on the labor and employment law front.  One bill that did become law is one that prohibits the sexual harassment of unpaid interns.  The law creates an offense if the employer’s agents or supervisors know or should have knowledge of conduct constituting sexual harassment was… Continue Reading

Texas Statutory Damages Caps Need Not Be Pled As Affirmative Defense

Posted in Case Summaries, Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation
In a non-employment case that is nonetheless important for labor and employment lawyers, the Texas Supreme Court has held that statutory damage caps under the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code need not be plead as an affirmative defense by the defendant.  While the case applies to the damage caps of Chapter 41 of the… Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Wrap-up of Employment Law Cases 2014-15 Term

Posted in Discrimination, Judicial Updates, Reasonable Accommodation, Religion
This past term saw the Supreme Court issue four opinions in labor and employment cases.  In case you missed them, the following is a brief summary of the holdings from those cases. EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Holding that Title VII’s prohibition against refusing to hire an applicant to avoid accommodating a religious practice that could be accommodated without… Continue Reading