The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

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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The Texas Workforce Commission recently awarded nine grants, totaling nearly $2 million, to the Texas Youth in Technology Strategic Workforce Development initiative …

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Darrell Gilyard, head of 700-member Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL, is in hot water for a second time over charges of sexual misconduct with members of his flock. Gilyard was a rising star at Victory Baptist Church in Richardson, TX …

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It takes more than a trip to the family doctor, a diagnosis and a prescription to establish a disability and qualify for protection under the ADA. Employees who say they are disabled must be able to show that they are substantially impaired in a major life function. And taking medication may mean an employee is not disabled because it can reduce the effects of even serious illnesses …

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When an employee takes leave to deal with a serious health condition, be sure to inform her that you plan to charge the time against her allotment of unpaid FMLA leave. If you fail to do so and the employee later runs out of leave and loses a benefit, it will be relatively easy for her to sue and show she was somehow harmed by the lack of notice …

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It’s important to carefully track each and every step of the promotion process, including the relative qualifications of those vying for open spots on the corporate ladder. Here’s why: Employees who claim they were unfairly passed over have to show that they were “clearly better qualified” than the chosen candidate …

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