The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

When employees and employers freely agree to arbitrate disputes and submit those disputes to an impartial decision-maker, chances are a federal court won’t reverse that decision. In fact, courts are required to resolve doubts in favor of arbitration, so those who try to bring lawsuits don’t get a “second bite at the apple.”

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Want to know the easiest way to turn an almost-sure win in court into an almost-certain loss? Allow supervisors to tell employees they should drop an EEOC or other discrimination claim. The simple act of suggesting that a lawsuit isn’t in the employee’s best interest may amount to retaliation if the suggestions would dissuade a reasonable employee from complaining in the first place.

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A recent study conducted by CNBC concluded that Texas is “America’s Top State For Business.” The cable TV news study scored each state on 40 measures of competitiveness covering 10 categories … Texas’ highest rankings were in economy, technology and innovation, transportation and cost of living.

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The owners and three managers of Action Rags USA, a used clothing plant in Houston, have been charged with conspiracy to harbor illegal immigrants and inducing illegal immigrants to come to the United States …

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U.S. Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston, in a letter to the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), called for an investigation into the fatal explosion that occurred June 11 at a Houston Goodyear facility that makes synthetic rubber for tires …

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The U.S. Department of Labor has sued an employer association, a health fund trustee and the fund’s consultant over allegedly imprudent management of the Manufacturing and Industrial Workers Union (MIWU) Benefit Fund of Bryan, Texas …

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President Bush recently signed into law H.R. 493, also known as the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), which prohibits employers from using genetic tests or information to discriminate against applicants and employees …

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Q. We are a for-profit health care facility licensed by the state of Texas. Can we use volunteers to perform services at our facility without compensation? For example,  the wife of one of our clients wants to volunteer her services in exchange for us waiving the daily-use fee we charge her husband. Are these volunteer services exempt from the wage-and-hour requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)? … 

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The Texas Workforce Commission recently announced that federally funded unemployment insurance (UI) benefits will be extended for 13 weeks. On June 30, President Bush signed legislation authorizing Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation …

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Nothing will escalate an already tense workplace during a union-organizing drive and subsequent election than punishing pro-union employees. While you can certainly continue with any evaluations or disciplinary actions that are warranted, beware of targeting anyone involved in the union push …

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