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The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

Some jobs are more difficult than others, and employees who choose to work in tough fields may have to develop a thicker skin. When it comes to deciding whether a work site fosters a "hostile work environment," courts typically decide whether harassment is objectively abusive based on the circumstances of the worker’s job …

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The federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which regulates employee benefit plans, usually covers employees’ claims related to their benefits. However, Texas employers who opt out of the state workers’ compensation program may receive a nasty surprise …

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Texas employers who fire employees for failing to comply with federal immigration laws needn’t fear that doing so will mean that the employees can later collect unemployment compensation payments. When employees are terminated because they have not provided work authorization papers, you can protest the unemployment application on the basis of "misconduct"…

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If you outsource employee training programs that include self-defense or other physically demanding work, be aware that the waivers signed by your employees may mean you will have to pay for any injuries …

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Texas employers recorded 495 fatal occupational injuries last year, compared to 440 fatalities in 2004, a 12.5 percent increase, according to a newly released annual report from the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) …

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The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) recently announced that it will allow people to file biweekly continuing claims for unemployment benefits online …

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McCormick & Co., Inc. recently agreed to pay $300,000 in back pay and interest to settle allegations that the company discriminated against female job applicants at its facility in Irving, Texas. As part of the settlement, the company also agreed to hire 27 female applicants for production worker positions …

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The Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission recently adopted new rules to clarify the qualifications and functions of designated doctors and peer reviewers in the Texas workers’ comp system …

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If you’ve shied away from using noncompete clauses with employees in the past due to the unpredictability of their legality in Texas, it’s time to rethink that strategy. Reason: The Texas Supreme Court last month reversed its 12-year-old precedent on compete contracts for at-will employees, and the news is good for Texas employers …

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Federal law says you must grant employees "reasonable accommodations" for their religious beliefs and practices. But that doesn’t mean that any employees who are told they must work on their Sabbath have an automatic lawsuit …

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