The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

Some companies mistakenly believe that offering an employee the option of quitting or being fired can save them from a later lawsuit. That isn’t always the case even if the employee decides to resign. In fact, an employee who quits to avoid being fired may have been “constructively discharged” and can still sue …

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As the economy slumps, expect more lawsuits from employees who lose their jobs. Many won’t find lawyers because their cases are flimsy. They may then file the lawsuit themselves. Fortunately, courts are beginning to lose patience with such cases …

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If you accept applications online and have potential employees provide their résumés electronically, let applicants review their submissions. You’ll avoid unnecessary lawsuits.

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A recent report offers some ominous news for Texas employers. Texas is one of eight states that saw an increase in class-action wage-and-hour cases filed in state court last year, according to the Seyfarth Shaw law firm’s new Workplace Class Action Litigation Report.

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Clearly, there is no fury like that of a woman scorned—especially one unfairly passed over for promotion. Officer Tina Lewallen filed a complaint with the Beaumont Police Department after two men were promoted to the narcotics unit ahead of her. When the department failed to investigate the complaint, Lewallen sued …

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Back in 2004, Grimes County Auditor Sidney “Buck” LaQuey took a shine to Bridgette Massey, whom he hired to work in his office—even though she had no auditing experience. Eventually, Massey filed an EEOC complaint in 2006, followed by a lawsuit in 2007, alleging sexual harassment and retaliation …

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On Jan. 26, the U.S. Supreme Court once again expanded the ability of employees to sue for retaliation. The court held that an employee who answers a question about a fellow employee’s improper conduct during an internal sexual harassment investigation is engaging in “protected activity” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

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Employees can sue if they believe they have been discriminated against based on their national origin. But what if the employee’s family has been in the United States for generations, and she speaks without any discernable accent or speech pattern common to another nationality and looks all-American? Can she still claim national-origin discrimination?

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Here’s a warning for managers or supervisors being investigated for sexual or other harassment: If they falsely accuse an alleged victim of lying, the victim may be able to sue the manager or supervisor for defamation. And that could mean personal liability for the boss if a jury believes the alleged victim.

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Fourteen companies based in Texas have made Fortune magazine’s 2009 “100 Best Companies to Work For” list. Five Dallas/Fort Worth area firms made the list …

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