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The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

Employers can’t fire employees for refusing to engage in criminal acts. But that doesn’t mean em­­ployees can proclaim “That’s illegal!” and expect to get away with what is really insubordination.

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If you want to retain the ability to fire at will, make sure any memos, letters or emails detailing a job offer don’t create an employment contract. That means never promising that termination will be for cause or for any list of reasons.

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Dallas-based staffing agency Temp Team has agreed to settle FLSA violations un­­covered during a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation. The $244,104 settlement will be split among 252 current and former employees.

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The Texas Supreme Court has handed an important victory to Texas employers eager to avoid jury trials for employment disputes: It ruled that, as long as the employees are at-will workers, threatening to fire them for refusing to give up the right to a jury trial does not invalidate the agreement.

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Employers sometimes assume that because a case is in arbitration, they don’t have to take the case as seriously as they would during courtroom proceedings. That can be a big mistake.

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Nearly 2 million U.S. workers are victims of workplace violence each year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Don’t let your organization add to those sobering statistics. To reduce the chance of workplace violence—or your liability if it does happen—follow these 11 guidelines:

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OSHA has ordered AirTran, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, to pay $1 million in damages after it found the airline retaliated against a pilot who reported safety problems.

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Printing company SpeQtrum Pre­­press Production Services faces 14 serious safety and health violations and one other-than-serious violation following an OSHA inspection of its facility in Euless. Proposed penalties add up to $44,800.

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Two former bartenders at Houston’s Berryhill Baja Grill have filed sexual harassment suits against the restaurant, alleging that a manager constantly harassed and groped them—and at least once, exposed himself to them.

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Austin-based information technology firm HBMG and its president, Manuel Zarate, have agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging the company failed to transfer employee retirement fund contributions into its 401(k) program.

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