The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

Employers that keep detailed disciplinary records showing exactly why an employee was disciplined are much more likely to win lawsuits. That makes it harder for an employee to argue he was singled out for unfair, discriminatory punishment.

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Watch out if—like many Texas energy-industry employers—you also operate in Louisiana under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement that covers workplace safety. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals just made life a little harder for you.

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Employees who quit and sue have a tough case to make if they allege they had no choice but to quit because conditions were so terrible. First, they must demonstrate that poor treatment created a hostile work environment. However, they must also show an additional, aggravating factor …

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Here’s a reminder to pass on to everyone involved in the hiring or promotion process: You’re running a huge risk if you deviate from the job announcement’s minimum and preferred qualifications.

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Apparently, Piping Technology & Products (PTP) is a noisy place—so noisy that management failed to hear OSHA the first time it cited the company a year ago. Now it must pay OSHA fines totaling $118,000 after inspectors discovered conditions leading to one willful and nine serious health and safety violations.

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Employees who lose their jobs have an incentive to sue—and they’ll often look for evidence of discrimination to form the basis of their lawsuits. But to win in court, employees have to show they were meeting their employer’s legitimate expectations. That’s hard to do if the employer can show the employee admitted her shortcomings.

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The DOL has announced an initiative to investigate employee misclassification in the hospitality industry in Dallas. According to a department statement, previous investigations “have found significant and systemic violations of the minimum wage, overtime pay and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.”

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A recent HR Specialist poll found that casual attire is the norm in 88% of our readers’ workplaces. But a culture of dressing down doesn’t mean organizations don’t need a dress code. What people wear to work is more than a matter of personal preference. One area of primary concern is safety.

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You probably know that when a disabled employee has used up all his FMLA leave entitlement, he may still be entitled to reasonable accommodations under the ADA. It’s legitimate to offer additional leave as a reasonable accommodation. However, at some point, time off can be a burden for employers, especially when the employee can’t estimate when he will be ready to return. In that case, it may be time to terminate the employee.

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Hobson Air Con­­di­­tion­­ing, a Weatherford contractor, has agreed to pay $37,500 to settle charges that a manager created a sexually hostile work environment.

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