The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

Texas employers that opt out of the state workers’ compensation system often adopt separate insurance plans to cover employees’ on-the-job injuries. Those plans usually provide no-fault benefits and are governed by ERISA. That doesn’t mean, however, that employees can’t sue under other state laws …

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Good news: Your managers and supervisors aren’t individually liable for violating either the Texas Whistleblower Act or the Texas Labor Code. That means your personal assets aren’t on the line …

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A former treasurer of Local 900 of the Federal Independent Texas Union (FITU) was recently ordered to serve a 21-month prison sentence for embezzling $164,268 in union funds. The FITU represents employees at Lockheed Aerospace Corp. in Fort Worth …

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A Texas appeals court had dismissed a lawsuit filed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on behalf of nine chimpanzees and monkeys. The court said the primates don’t have an independent right to sue …

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Q. What information must be included in an OSHA Log 300 and when must it be posted? …

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Q. My company has a policy prohibiting all workers from discussing their pay with other employees. Is this legal? …

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Q. Our company has an initial 90-day probationary period for all new employees. Our employee handbook clearly describes the probationary period and also contains an introduction stating that the company has the right to terminate its employees at any time with or without cause. Our attorney recently informed us that the two provisions may be inconsistent and recommended that we delete the handbook’s reference to a probationary period. Should we follow her advice? …

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Here’s yet another reason to clean up the workplace and make certain it’s free of harassment, graffiti and other evidence of a hostile work environment: Employees can collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in punitive damages even if they weren’t physically or financially harmed by the hostile workplace …

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According to a recent Associated Press report, Bank of America must assume Countrywide Financial’s contract to create 7,500 new jobs in Texas if it wants to move forward with its plan to acquire the nation’s largest mortgage lender …

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The attorney for the family of a worker who was fatally injured at BP’s Texas City refinery recently stated that he will have a metallurgist test equipment to determine whether its age and condition were factors in the accident …

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