The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

On July 22, 2008, the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) Office of the General Counsel issued a guidance memorandum addressing unfair labor practice (ULP) charges involving political advocacy. The impetus for the general counsel’s memorandum stemmed from a series of ULP charges filed in late 2006 involving employers that allegedly disciplined employees for participating in nationwide and local demonstrations …

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The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that employees who want to sue for most kinds of employment discrimination under Texas state law must use the provisions of the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act. They can’t sue under the Texas Whistleblower Act in an effort to sidestep the CHRA’s rather complex procedures or miss its short filing deadlines …

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Employers know they can’t retaliate against employees for speaking with EEOC investigators about possible discrimination … But what about simply standing by as a spouse or significant other sues the same employer? Do you have to worry that
any job changes for the silent spouse will spur a successful retaliation lawsuit?

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Public employers aren’t required to abide by all sections of the FMLA because they have limited immunity from federal lawsuits. For example, state employees taking leave under the FMLA’s self-care provisions can’t sue for money damages. But recently the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that immunity does not extend to a claim for reinstatement after an employee takes FMLA leave …

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Sometimes, you just know that the reason a supervisor offers in a memo or e-mail for wanting to fire someone is going to look suspicious if the employee ever sues. If you can’t persuade the supervisor to reconsider, resist the temptation to help sugarcoat the situation with a neutral-sounding reason. It will only make matters worse when the employee’s lawyer inevitably discovers the memo or e-mail …

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Sometimes, an employer needs to downsize its workforce for any number of reasons. Whatever the reason, document why you need to cut staff before you announce the layoffs. You don’t necessarily owe every affected employee an explanation—in advance—of why his or her job is being eliminated. But you will need a clear, coherent and rational explanation later if one of the employees sues …

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Employers that wrongly regard injured employees as disabled by refusing to consider them for any open positions may be setting themselves up for “regarded as disabled” litigation. The ADA makes it illegal to discriminate against employees by assuming they are disabled when they are not …

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The EEOC recently filed a lawsuit against the Champion National Security Firm in Richardson, alleging the Texas company did not hire a Sikh who refused to shave his beard and remove his turban. The EEOC is seeking punitive damages, back pay and compensation for pain and suffering caused to Sukhdev Singh Brar …

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The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) recently requested $7.35 million in Disaster Relief Employment from the U.S. Department of Labor to help with the state’s recovery efforts following Hurricane Dolly, which barreled through South Texas in July …

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The U.S. Department of Justice and the EEOC have filed a complaint to enforce a mediation settlement agreement the EEOC entered into with the Housing Authority of the city of El Paso  …

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