The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

Employees who are not qualified for their jobs can’t claim ADA protection based on disability. And when a disabled employee has a position that’s covered by Depart­­ment of Transportation federal drug testing requirements and refuses a drug test, he’s automatically unqualified because DOT regulations require his sus­­pension.

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Courts don’t allow employees to use constructive discharge as an excuse to quit unless they can off substantial reasons why they felt they had no choice but to resign.

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Fort Worth-based Burlington North­ern Santa Fe Railroad has agreed to pay a North Dakota employee $30,000 in back pay to settle an OSHA whistle-blower complaint he filed against the railroad.

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State Sen. Donna Campbell has proposed legislation authorizing a referendum to amend the Texas Constitution in a way that opponents say would allow Texas businesses to fire lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual employees and refuse service to LGBT customers if the business owner objects to the employee or customer’s lifestyle because of religious beliefs.

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More than 2.1 million jobs have been created in Texas since 2000, nearly a third of all jobs created nationwide during that time. Over the last 12 months, 413,000 jobs have been added to the Texas economy.

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A recent Information Letter issued by the IRS on the taxation of employer-provided parking, although noncontroversial, serves as a useful reminder that “free” parking for employees may result in taxes for both the employee and the employer.

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Some disabled employees seem to think that the accommodation they prefer must be the one they get as long as it meets the definition of “reasonable.” They’re wrong.

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Here’s a warning for public em­­ployers that want to discharge an employee for allegedly speaking out inappropriately: Make sure you conduct a thorough investigation that at least allows the employee a chance to defend his actions before you terminate him.

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These days, many employers are short-staffed, and feel like they can’t add anyone to payroll. Even so, it’s no surprise that disabled employees sometimes ask for accommodations that include providing help to do their jobs. Fortunately, employers don’t have to hire more staff to comply with the ADA.

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Courts don’t want to spend all their time mediating minor workplace disputes. Judges aren’t HR professionals and don’t want to run your business. Keep that in mind the next time an employee files a lawsuit based on one or two allegedly hostile incidents. Chances are, the case will be dismissed.

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