The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

Austin scored a perfect 100 in the Human Rights Campaign’s annual rankings of American cities with local laws and policies that protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination.

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Sometimes, employers make mistakes and fire employees for a reason later deemed illegal. But if that same employer finds evidence after the fact that would have supported the termination decision on its own, that may serve as a get-out-of-jail card.

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When an employee returns to work with restrictions after an illness, he or she may be disabled and entitled to reasonable ADA accommodations. Don’t make a mistake and skip the interactive accommodations process, even if you believe no accommodation is possible. You are still required to consider the possibility before taking action like terminating the employee.

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A recent ruling held that time workers spend waiting to undergo and undergoing security screenings is not compensable under the FLSA.

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Employers can terminate employees for insubordination, and that can include walking out of meetings to discuss performance issues. In turn, being insubordinate can mean denial of unemployment compensation.

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It’s never a good idea to talk about older workers as “dinosaurs” or wish for “new blood.” When a boss say things like that, and if the em­­ployee is demoted or fired shortly afterward, the statements can end up being used as direct evidence of age discrimination.

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Sometimes, a supervisor harbors prejudices that aren’t obvious. Always investigate before firing an employee who claims she’s in trouble because of her boss’s biases. If ­others agree there is a problem, you had better pay attention.

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There are some things that employers can’t control. One of those things is how employees act outside the workplace. Take, for example, this recent case in which a co-worker allegedly attacked another worker after work and off the premises.

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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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