The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

Corpus Christi-based Nueces Elec­­tri­­cal Co-Op has agreed to pay a former employee $46,920 in back pay and damages after it forced him to retire and tap his 401(k) retirement fund instead of granting him FMLA leave.

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The Fort Worth Center for Reha­­bil­­i­­­­tation will pay a rejected job applicant $30,000 to settle a disability dis­crimination suit filed by the EEOC. The EEOC alleged the center failed to accommodate a certified nursing assistant’s disability when conducting a pre-employment drug screen.

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Dallas-based Parkland Health and Hospital System cut its executives bonuses this year, but not because the head honchos performed poorly. The system’s governing body decided the money was better spent raising the pay of the system’s lowest-earning employees instead.

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Employers occasionally become dejected over the prospects of defending against tort and other civil claims in state courts. However, a recent case out of Houston reaffirms that employers can and do win these kinds of cases—if they have implemented the appropriate policies.

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Here’s a case that may help you get an ADA or FMLA case dismissed quickly when an employee is acting as her own attorney. A worker has to allege up front in her lawsuit that her employer has enough employees to be covered by the FMLA or the ADA.

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Workers at four Dallas-area restaurants will receive more than $188,000 following a U.S. Depart­­ment of Labor Wage and Hour Divi­­sion (WHD) investigation. The restaurants—Yes Buffet in Grand Prairie, Royal Buf­­fet in Rowlett and Crown Buffet and Win Chi­­nese Buffet in Dallas—underpaid 61 employees.

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Sometimes, keeping quiet is the best approach. That’s certainly true when you discipline or terminate employees for poor performance. Bad-mouthing an employee won’t do any good and may mean a needless lawsuit if the employee’s reputation suffers.

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Do you have a rule that says employees who aren’t ready to return from FMLA leave when their time is up face termination? If so, consider providing at least limited flexibility under one circumstance.

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Employers shouldn’t worry too much about firing an employee they believe sexually harassed another employee. As long as you conduct an investigation and reasonably believe the employee broke company rules against harassment, a court likely won’t second-guess your judgment. You don’t have to be absolutely right… just honest.

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Under the FLSA, employees are entitled to overtime for hours worked over 40 in any workweek. However, the law doesn’t specify how a workweek is determined…

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