The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

Sometimes, workplace relationships deteriorate beyond repair. That’s especially true if an employee resorts to angry outbursts or even threats. That’s when it’s time to act.

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Employers contemplating simply giving employees tax-free cash to purchase health insurance on public exchanges will have to rethink that plan in light of new IRS regulations implementing the Affordable Care Act.

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Houston employers have a new local anti-discrimination ordinance to comply with. In addition to the classes protected by federal and state law, Houston now protects employees from discrimination based on familial status, marital status, gender identity and sexual orientation.

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Some employees don’t get help with their potential employment lawsuits until after the EEOC has tossed out their complaints. By then, it may be too late—unless the employer makes a common mistake and pushes for more details. Instead, let it go. That way, you might win the case even if the claim was potentially valid.

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Here’s something to consider before you choose not to be a part of the Texas workers’ compensation system. Employers that forego coverage—as they are permitted to do—leave open the possibility of unlimited liability and have few defenses available.

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If there is one thing that will get a federal judge’s attention, it’s name-calling that targets a particular race or ethnicity. While one comment may not be enough for a lawsuit, repeated name-calling almost certainly demonstrates hostility. That’s especially true if a supervisor makes the comments.

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Many employers have a hotline that employees can call to report discrimination, harassment or other workplace problems. Generally, employees who call a hotline are protected against retaliation because the call itself is “protected activity.” But that’s not always the case.

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Three employees of FTSS Joint Ven­­ture will receive $105,000 in back pay and damages after the NLRB ruled the company violated the National Labor Relations Act when it unilaterally eliminated one job and created new, lower-paying positions to replace those held by the employees.

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Hospitality giant Carlson Res­­tau­­rants, headquartered in Caroll­­ton, faces a class-action suit alleging numerous Fair Labor Standards Act violations at TGI Fridays restaurants nationwide.

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Here’s a cautionary tale about changing a new employee’s job duties soon after hire. He or she may claim the real reason is discrimination if the change happened soon after a new boss discovered the employee belonged to a protected class.

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