The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Page 30
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The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

A former accounting manager at Texas Southern University is seeking $500,000 in damages and reinstatement, claiming the university fired him because of his Nigerian heritage.

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An employee recently tried to claim that a customer had retaliated against her for griping on the job. It didn’t work.

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Courts like to see that ­employers pause before firing an employee accused of breaking a rule and then document their investigation carefully. Interviewing the employee should be routine in most disciplinary cases. Temporarily suspending an employee before making a final decision also shows the court that the process was fair.

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Wayne Wright, a personal injury law firm in Houston, faces charges it fired an employee after she told them she was expecting a child.

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The Texas Supreme Court was recently asked by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to determine the status of at-will employment in Texas. The Texas High Court made it very clear that at-will employment is the standard in the state. Employees can’t sue former employers for fraud if they “promise” continued employment and but then fail to deliver.

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The Austin Firefighters Association wants to be part of the city’s negotiation with the U.S. Department of Justice to settle long-smoldering claims that the city fire department’s hiring process discriminates against black and Hispanic applicants.

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Employees typically have to file EEOC complaints within 300 days. Some attorneys think they can get around that rule by shopping around for other laws on which to base their lawsuits. Typically, they try to find a common-law tort to fit the situation, giving them much more time to sue. Now that avenue has been blocked.

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Employees who have used up all available leave may want to return to work part time while they are still healing from an injury or illness. Whether part-time work is a reasonable accommodation under the ADA depends on whether all essential functions of the job can be performed part time.

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Frivo­­lous lawsuits can take up lots of time and cost thousands of dollars in legal fees before it’s all over. Fortunately, courts are becoming more willing to punish truly frivolous lawsuits and the employees who bring them.

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Here’s an easy way to avoid unnecessary litigation: If you are disciplining an employee for missing too much work, don’t tie absences to a disabled relative’s condition. If you do, you may end up losing an association discrimination case.

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