The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

If your organization doesn’t have an employee wellness program, a new study provides more incentive to start one. It says that Texas residents, on average, aren’t the healthiest folks in America …

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Q. We require new employees to buy their top uniform from a uniform company. The uniforms vary depending on the position and have the company’s logo on them. The uniform typically costs between $20 and $45 and is a smock, polo shirt or vest. The employees can deduct that amount from their paychecks or pay for it by personal check or credit card. As the HR manager, I take care of this process for them. Is this procedure legal under Texas law? —D.S.

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Q. We have an employee returning from FMLA leave. His physician issued a fitness-for-duty certificate, but we question the worker’s ability to perform his old job because the length of his absence was too short for him to recover completely. Further, the fitness-for-duty certificate simply states that he is “able” to work, without addressing his specific job duties. Can we send him to another physician for a second fitness-for-duty examination? —A.L.

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Q. If an employee is already on probation when she becomes pregnant, how does an employer continue with progressive discipline measures, including possible discharge? —P.A.

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Q. I recently discharged an employee for performance problems. At the end of the termination meeting, he asked for a copy of his personnel file. Do I have to give discharged employees a copy of their personnel files? —B.N.

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Texas law doesn’t require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, but those who don’t may find the cost far higher than the insurance premiums …

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Texas workers are becoming more confident in their ability to find a new job, according to the Spherion Employment Report, a monthly survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Spherion Corp. …

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Members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 5 recently voted in favor of a three-year collective-bargaining agreement that provides janitors in the Houston area with health benefits and a pay increase …

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One part of the federal law that bans job discrimination (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act) makes it illegal to retaliate against employees who engage in “protected activity,” such as filing a discrimination complaint. But here’s a key point to remember: That protected activity must be related to discrimination claims under Title VII

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While it’s vital to react promptly when employees formally file sexual harassment complaints, what do you do if they approach you informally and don’t want to make a formal complaint? …

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