The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

When the Grand Prairie parks department hired Damon Bryan as a maintenance worker, it asked him about his criminal background. Bryan told them he had a conviction for aggravated assault, but he left out the type of assault. He had been convicted of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl …

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For Texas employers, the long-range forecast shows an unstable union atmosphere over the next several years, with pressure building from health care costs, outsourcing and immigration reform. As the united front of the AFL-CIO and the new Change to Win union blow through the state, damage may be significant …

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If one of your company’s supervisors knowingly ignores a safety rule, can OSHA hold the company liable? OSHA has long argued "yes" and has moved against employers on the premise that if the supervisor knows he’s violating the rules, then the company also knows …

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Sometimes, employees who believe they’re being harassed or discriminated against feel the situation is so bad that they’re forced to quit. This is called "constructive discharge" …

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You know the workplace should be free of racially or sexually charged comments and that supervisors most certainly shouldn’t engage in such banter. But you can’t wipe prejudice out of every employee’s mind …

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A recent Texas Court of Appeals case is good news for employers who run health care facilities, such as mental health centers. Reason: Patients who claim that the facility negligently hired employees who subsequently assaulted the patient will have to meet the very stringent rules on the Texas Medical Liability and Insurance Improvement Act …

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The EEOC recently honored Fluor Corporation of Sugar Land, Texas, as one of seven companies across the country cited for their efforts in promoting inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace …

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Q. One of my employees has been out on FMLA leave for seven weeks taking care of his sick father in another state. The leave was approved for a full 12 weeks. I received a voice mail from him saying that his father died. He also said that he had to clear up a lot of things with his father’s estate, but that he would be back by the end of his scheduled leave. Can he do that or can I tell him he needs to come back sooner? —V.S.

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Q. We require, as a condition of employment, that our employees agree to resolve all disputes by binding arbitration, rather than going to court. One of my friends said a lot of the government agencies don’t like those kinds of arbitration policies and one agency even decided that they were illegal. I know lots of employers have binding arbitration, so I don’t think that could be right, but thought I better check. —S.T.

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Q. We have a nonexempt salaried employee who normally works Monday to Friday and is paid biweekly. She took a week’s vacation, which would come from her PTO (paid time off) bank. We had a customer emergency and called her into work on the Saturday of her vacation week. How should she be paid? Should she receive her PTO pay but have eight hours less of it charged against her PTO bank? Should she be paid for eight extra hours, plus her week of PTO pay? If we pay her both PTO and eight extra hours, do we have to pay her overtime? —W.M.

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