The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

Has your workplace experienced an increase in theft? If so, you’re probably exploring loss-prevention measures. While you assess your options, make sure you don’t crack down on employees in ways that will land you in court.

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Courts don’t like conflicting reasons for termination, or confusion over who made the decision. They want to know exactly who decided the employee should be terminated and why. Create a clear who-and-why record before you fire.

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Employees fired for violating workplace rules can still sue over some alleged form of discrimination, even if they were indeed guilty of breaking company rules. Be ready to counter such allegations by always documenting exactly why you determined the employee should lose his job.

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Five foreign guest workers who wound up in Texas will share $14 million as victims of human trafficking. The decision offers lessons for any employer using guest workers.

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Specialty Painting & Wall Covering and M&S Enterprises, both in Nie­­der­­land, have paid 22 painters and drywall installers $108,783 in overtime back wages following a U.S. Labor Department Wage and Hour Divi­­sion investigation.

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Public employees have some workplace protections based on constitutional rights to free speech and association. But those rights don’t extend to the right to be part of a co-worker clique.

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A recent study of EEOC ADA en­­force­­ment actions has revealed that Texas employers paid out $9.7 million to employees in 2013. That’s up sharply from $5.4 million in 2009.

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Some employees don’t take discipline well. What may have started as a reprimand over a rule violation or poor work can quickly escalate for one of these workers. Don’t be afraid to increase the disciplinary consequences if the em­­ployee won’t cooperate or accept correction.

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Here’s something to remember when planning your sexual har­­assment training sessions for management: Be sure everyone understands that they must report any sexual har­­assment complaints employees make—even if the employees don’t follow the procedures for reporting sexual harassment laid out in the employee handbook or company policies.

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Here’s something to consider if a discharged disabled employee who simply could not do her job sues, alleging disability discrimination. Check to see if she has applied for disability benefits and get a copy of the application. If she didn’t qualify her disability by claiming she could perhaps do some work if reasonably accommodated, she may have killed her chances to argue she was qualified for her old position, too.

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