The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

Travis Transit Management of Austin has agreed to pay 600 current and former employees $655,000 to settle charges it unilaterally changed employee health, retirement and other benefits when it began providing bus service for Austin’s Capital Metro in 2012.

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An oilfield services company in Iraan, Texas, faces an EEOC lawsuit after its only female roust­­about was fired.

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Current and former employees of the Social Security Administration will receive $6.6 million to settle charges the agency failed to accommodate disabled workers and denied them promotions. A federal judge has given preliminary approval to the deal.

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It’s OK to occasionally deviate from the disciplinary process outlined in your employee handbook—if you leave yourself some wiggle room by explaining that some infractions are so serious they warrant immediate discharge.

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It may not be common, but reverse discrimination does occur. Ignore it at your peril.

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A federal court has dismissed a former employee’s claim under the Electronics Communication Privacy Act alleging that his employer illegally destroyed valuable information when it remotely wiped clean his iPhone after he resigned. That’s good news for IT departments that must protect company information that might be stored on former employees’ smartphones.

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It can be frustrating to have to defend your organization against what you consider frivolous claims. Unfortunately, that’s just another cost of doing business. As the following case shows, even when you win the case and thought it should never have been filed, you probably won’t persuade a court to penalize the employee by having him pay your legal fees.

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While there is growing acceptance of same-sex marriage and homosexuality in the United States, being transgender is still not a protected status under federal law. That may be changing in the coming years, but there is as yet nothing preventing a Texas employer from discriminating against a transgender applicant or employee, as the following case shows.

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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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