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 91
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The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine many advantages of being a union workplace, but here’s a bit of good news: At least in some limited circumstances, working under a collective-bargaining agreement gives employers some protection against FLSA lawsuits that demand payment for time spent putting on and taking off protective gear at the beginning and end of the workday.

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Defending lawsuits is expensive, even more so if the case is being heard in some faraway city. Your staff would have to travel long distances to participate in the trial, maybe just for the employee’s convenience. Fortunately, federal courts in Texas are clamping down on such litigation tactics.

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Interested in combating potential FMLA fraud? The best way to keep employees from gaming FMLA leave is to use the law’s medical certification process. To make sure employees take only FMLA leave to which they are entitled, follow these 10 steps:

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Most employers have severe cases of “juryphobia.” They assume that a jury will automatically side with an employee and award hundreds of thousands of dollars to right an alleged wrong. If you and your attorneys are convinced you didn’t do anything wrong, it may be best to trust a jury to hear the case and come to the same conclusion. That’s what one employer recently did.

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Employers can’t retaliate against employees for engaging in so-called protected activities. But figuring out what is protected can be hard. Your best bet: Assume any complaint is protected.

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You may think an employee who sues for discrimination after filing an EEOC complaint can include only so much in the ensuing lawsuit. That’s not necessarily true.

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Thirteen employees recently filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Dallas, claiming they were the victims of racial discrimination while working for Dallas Water Utilities. In addition to claiming that they endured racial slurs and degrading drawings, the workers say they were passed over for promotions in favor of less qualified white workers.

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Rife Industrial Marine, a Nederland company that builds oil rigs, has agreed to pay $401,355 in back wages to 567 welders and laborers engaged in offshore construction. A DOL investigation found that the company incorrectly classified some pay as reimbursements for employee travel expenses and failed to pay overtime on those wages.

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A British company recently agreed to pay about $400,000 in back overtime pay for violating Texas labor laws. Nearly 500 contracted construction and technical workers and engineers working for the American branch of Scotland-based RBG Limited accused the company of improperly compensating them under both federal and state laws.

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Recent workplace shootings in Orlando, Fla., and Fort Hood serve as powerful reminders that employers must heed signs that an employee could act out and harm co-workers or supervisors. There were 768 violence-related deaths in the workplace in 2008. Despite those disturbing numbers, many employers stick their heads in the sand. They put their assets and employees at risk by gambling that “it couldn’t happen here.”

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