The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

There’s a right way and a wrong way to terminate an employee who isn’t returning from FMLA leave. The right way: Offer every opportunity to ask for an extension—and document that you did so. The wrong way: Just fire her when she doesn’t show up on the day she was supposed to return.

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Judges don’t have much patience with employers that don’t understand their obligations to prevent or stop sexual harassment, including same-sex harassment.

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The EEOC is suing a Popeye’s Chicken and Biscuits franchisee, alleging it illegally refused to hire an HIV-positive man for a job at a Longview restaurant. In its complaint, the EEOC claims Famous Chicken of Shreveport violated the ADA when it refused to hire the well-qualified applicant because of his condition.

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Members of the armed forces are protected from discharge for being called to duty. That includes those who must take short training leaves. Once released from brief active-duty periods, they must get their jobs back. Firing a returning service member without a solid reason may spark a lawsuit.

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Do you need to change someone’s job duties to economize? Don’t fear that doing so will trigger a lawsuit—as long as you can show the changes were necessary and not just an excuse for discrimination.

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Progressive discipline systems force supervisors to follow the steps in the process, which helps employers document what happened and when. That can come in handy if the employee files an EEOC complaint and then claims she was fired for doing so.

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A former general manager at Benny Boyd Chevrolet-Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep in Lubbock claims he was denied partnership in the company when he developed multiple sclerosis.

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Consider this scenario: A former em­­ployee is collecting unemployment. You have an opening that matches his skills and abilities, but which pays less than the previous position. If you make an offer and the former employee rejects it, he may lose his unemployment compensation benefits.

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A federal jury has awarded $450,000 to a mentally disabled former Kroger grocery store employee in Plano whose manager constantly insulted him. The EEOC filed a disability discrimination lawsuit on the employee’s behalf in 2012.

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When you are investigating em­­ployee wrongdoing and deciding on discipline, you don’t have to get everything exactly right—as long as you act in good faith and aren’t trying to set up someone or use the disciplinary process as a pretext for discrimination.

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