The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

Only 10 days after prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, Presi­­dent Obama issued the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order.

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Employees can’t count their work histories with religious organizations when seeking unemployment benefits.

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Employers defending against Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) whistle-blower retaliation claims should be prepared for a long and tough litigation process. A recent district court decision out of Texas vividly illustrates how long a haul it might be.

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When Texas Southmost College and the University of Texas-Brownsville ended their affiliation, administrators faced some tough decisions. According to three new lawsuits, they didn’t choose wisely.

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A San Antonio area franchisee faces charges he failed to pay proper overtime to his employees. Wessam “Sammie” Aldeeb operate eight restaurants, including Subway, Great American Cookies and Marble Slab Creamery stores. A recently filed suit seeks class-action status for at least 125 current or former employees of Aldeeb’s franchises.

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A former accounting manager at Texas Southern University is seeking $500,000 in damages and reinstatement, claiming the university fired him because of his Nigerian heritage.

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An employee recently tried to claim that a customer had retaliated against her for griping on the job. It didn’t work.

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Courts like to see that ­employers pause before firing an employee accused of breaking a rule and then document their investigation carefully. Interviewing the employee should be routine in most disciplinary cases. Temporarily suspending an employee before making a final decision also shows the court that the process was fair.

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Wayne Wright, a personal injury law firm in Houston, faces charges it fired an employee after she told them she was expecting a child.

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The Texas Supreme Court was recently asked by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to determine the status of at-will employment in Texas. The Texas High Court made it very clear that at-will employment is the standard in the state. Employees can’t sue former employers for fraud if they “promise” continued employment and but then fail to deliver.

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