The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

Employers are finding it harder to get age discrimination cases dismissed early. They also are learning that beating age discrimination suits requires rock-solid evidence of fair and equal treatment—and a genuine, legitimate reason for discharging the employee that has nothing to do with age …

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Employees whose employers turn down their requests for time off to attend religious services can’t just run out and sue for religious discrimination. They have a case only if their employers discipline or discharge them for refusing to comply with work requirements—for example, skipping work to attend services …

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A federal judge recently gave final approval to a settlement of a wage-and-hour lawsuit involving 500 primarily Latino janitors in San Antonio, Dallas and Chicago. Judge Amy St. Eve of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois approved a $1,138,000 settlement compensating workers who were employed through Contract Cleaning Maintenance Inc. …

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Electronic Data Systems Corp. (EDS), based in Plano, announced that it would offer early retirement to 12,000 eligible U.S. employees. The technology systems management and services company, which has approximately 136,000 employees in 64 countries, is making the offer in order to reduce costs …

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Whether an employer is liable for workplace harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act or state law oftentimes turns on the status of the harasser. If the employee’s supervisor is the harasser, liability for adverse action harassment is automatic. If, however, the harasser is a fellow employee or a supervisor other than the employee’s, the employee must show that the employer knew or should have known about the harassing behavior …

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Texas employers that want their employees to give up the right to take employment disputes to court must make sure they are clear about that intention. Although employees don’t actually have to sign the agreement to arbitrate, they must understand that the agreement is a condition of employment …

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A subsidiary of a Houston-based energy firm has agreed to pay $15 million to resolve charges stemming from a 2004 pipeline explosion in Walnut Creek, CA, that killed five workers …

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Q. I recently received a memo signed by all four employees in one department asking for 5% raises. Can I have a meeting with them to let them know that there is no money for raises, that their department could easily be eliminated and that they would be smarter just to keep a low profile and do their jobs? …

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Q. Must a Texas employer pay its interns? …

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A nation embroiled in war tends to be jittery and tempers run high. When anger and emotion seep into the workplace, things can get ugly. That’s why it’s important to remind everyone that you won’t tolerate comments, gags or jokes aimed at employees who may share ethnicity, religion or national origins with the “enemy” …

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