The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

Want to avoid unnecessary lawsuits over whether an applicant is qualified for a job opening or promotion opportunity? Then make sure your job announcement includes specific information about minimum requirements so that those don’t become the basis for a lawsuit.

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Here’s some good news for HR managers handling sexual har­­assment complaints. As long as you act fast, investigate and use your best efforts to prevent a repeat performance, one sexually explicit comment isn’t grounds for a lawsuit.

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Employees are entitled to fair treatment, but that doesn’t mean HR has to become a court of law and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an employee did something deserving of discharge. As long as you reasonably believe an employee broke a rule or other­­wise did something deserving of discharge, a termination will stand up to a legal challenge.

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The Austin Police Department last year reassigned 19 supervisors from its organized crime division in what officials term an attempt to “change culture.” Thirteen reassigned officers see the move differently, and they are fighting it.

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In a major win for employers, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the highly controversial D.R. Horton decision from the NLRB.

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A former employee at Lanxess Corp. has sued her former employer, claiming the company discriminated against her because of her gender. She recounts male employees telling her “women aren’t supposed to be back here” and that it was “not a woman’s job.”

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A federal judge has sentenced the former president of GMP Allied Workers Local 284 to 12 months and one day in prison after he pleaded guilty to embezzlement charges. The union official admitted taking $124,181 from the Longview-based local between 2000 and 2011.

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It’s the employer that gets to choose a reasonable accommodation for a disabled worker, not the employee. While a disabled worker may prefer one solution over another, that’s not relevant.

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Do you have an employee with a spotty attendance record who suddenly claims she can’t come to work on her day of worship? Employees can’t sue for denial of reasonable religious accommodations unless they prove three things.

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Some Texas employers try to discourage employees from taking workers’ compensation leave when they suffer an injury. Instead, they encourage employees to use FMLA and accrued vacation and other leave. Always make sure employees volunteer to make that choice.

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