Texas Employment Law Update

Texas Employment Law Update

A Resource for Texas Employers

Category Archives: Human Resources

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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 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

Why Personnel Files Should Reflect Reality: Properly Characterizing Employee Wage Increases

Posted in Human Resources
I like to emphasize the importance that an employee’s personnel file accurately reflect the employee’s performance in reality.   When an employer’s defense of a personnel action is based on an employee’s poor performance, fact finders expect that the poor performance to be documented in the employee’s file.  Fact finders do not expect, without plausible explanation, to see satisfactory performance reviews… 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

Archive for Webinar on Investigating Employee Complaints in the 21st Century Now Available

Posted in Discrimination, Harassment, Human Resources
Yesterday I hosted a webinar on Investigating Employee Complaints in the 21st Century:  Comprehensive Investigations of Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment and Misconduct.  There was a great turnout and many good questions posed from the participants.  If you missed the presentation, you can watch the archive here. I am actively seeking suggestions for interesting human resource or employment law topics… Continue Reading

Plaintiff’s Repeated “I Don’t Know” in Depositions Are Claim Killers

Posted in Human Resources
A while back I took the plaintiff’s deposition in a sex discrimination and harassment case where the plaintiff’s primary answer to any question that called for facts that might undermine her claim was "I don’t know" or "I don’t recall."  The deposition looked a lot like this one. At a break, my client representative expressed a great deal of frustration… Continue Reading

Carrots and Sticks: Ensuring You Have Buy-Out Rights When Employees Own Part of the Company

Posted in Human Resources
From time to time I’m approached by a small company that has given an employee partial ownership in the company.  While I haven’t yet had one written on the back of a bar napkin, the agreements usually aren’t much more sophisticated than this (or formal either).  By the time I’m consulted, like many once-good marriages, the employment relationship… Continue Reading

A Lighthearted Take on Deposition Preparation

Posted in Human Resources
Every once in a while I write a post just for fun. One example was the post I wrote about religious reasonable accommodation and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  Today is another fun post I felt compelled to write to justify the hour I spent watching funny video’s this weekend –the first weekend without real… Continue Reading

NLRB Says Agreements to Waive Participation in Class Action Violate Federal Labor Law

Posted in Arbitration, Human Resources, News & Commentary
Wow!  That is all I could say after I read the recent NLRB decision holding that an employer’s requirement that employee sign mandatory arbitration agreements waiving the right to litigate claims in a collective or class action violates the National Labor Relations Act.   In the case styled D.R. Horton, Inc. and Michael Cuda, the… Continue Reading

New Federal Rules Takes Effect Prohibiting Hand Held Cellular Devices

Posted in Human Resources, News & Commentary
The current federal administration is making significant changes in employment law through its rulemaking and regulatory authority rather than seeking Acts of Congress.  Another example of this method of legislature-through-rulemaking is the new federal regulation taking effect on January 3, 2012 that prohibit all commercial motor vehicle drivers from using hand-held telephones while driving.  The new rules provide significant penalties for… Continue Reading

Motivating Employees at Christmas Through Rewards

Posted in Human Resources, News & Commentary
I read a thought provoking article by Colin Turner in Business Review Europe about the importance of rewarding employees at Christmas and how those rewards can motivate employees. The article emphasized the importance of rewarding employees not only for the service they have provided, but to reward them prospectively for the service the employer expects to receive. This… Continue Reading

Texas Has No Enforceable Service Letter Statute

Posted in Human Resources
A service letter is a letter issued by a former employer stating an employee’s dates of employment; position held; and reasons for separation of employment.  There are two uses employees typically make of service letters.  First, they are used to document or confirm a segment of the employee’s work history or to use to qualify for unemployment… Continue Reading

Texas is a Right to Work State! What the Heck Does that Mean?

Posted in Human Resources, News & Commentary
Several years ago I took the deposition of the business owner who hired several employees from a competitor in violation of a noncompetition agreement the employees had with the competitor.  As part of enforcing the agreements against the former employees, the competitor sued the new employer for tortious interference with contract because the new employer/business owner was aware of the noncompetition agreements and… Continue Reading

9 Tips For Planning the Company Holiday Party

Posted in Human Resources
Its the time of the year again when companies begin planning whether and how to sponsor an end-of-year holiday parties.  Two years ago I wrote about how companies can plan their employer-sponsored celebrations to reduce potential liability resulting from those events.  The advice is as timely today as it was two years ago.  You can… Continue Reading

Managers and Supervisors Should Follow Their Employer’s Neutral Reference Policies

Posted in Human Resources
Many employers understand the need for having a neutral reference policy (i.e., a policy whereby only dates of employments, positions held and sometimes last salary is disclosed). The policies help prevent and defend against potential defamation claims by former employees. Last week, I attended a panel discussion on Post Employment Conduct by Employers and Employees:  Not the… Continue Reading