The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

Do you have an employee who works under an employment contract? Does the contract provide you with enough flexibility? For example, have you tied your hands when it comes to work assignments or to whom the employee reports? Is there a mechanism for early termination for cause or other economic reasons? Don’t let the complexities of contract law trip you up …

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File this one under “no good deed goes unpunished.” Michigan grocery clerk John Schultz says he lost his job after trying to thwart the getaway of an alleged shoplifter. The firing offense? Touching a customer …

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While workplace bullying certainly has existed for as long as mean people have worked alongside others, only recently has it emerged as an issue for the courts to handle. As awareness of “workplace bullying” arises, so does potential litigation and liability for employers …

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Q. When a manager takes an extended military leave of absence and I am forced to hire a replacement out of business necessity, am I still required to reinstate the manager upon his or her return to work? …

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Q. If a worker complains that he or she is depressed and needs time off, do I have a duty under the ADA to give the worker leave? …

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Houston’s Texas Medical Center (TMC) has announced it expects to add nearly 30,000 new jobs over the next seven years. The facility already bills itself as the largest medical center in the world with 150,000 patients, employees, students and visitors daily …

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Many Texas employers will see lower unemployment insurance (UI) taxes this year, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. The minimum tax rate, which 62% of Texas employers pay, decreased to 0.22% from 0.29% for the 2008 calendar year …

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On Dec. 4, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) announced the creation of Texas Workforce Solutions, a partnership between the TWC and 28 local work force development boards designed to assist Texans returning to civilian life from military service …

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Difficult employees may be sensitive to perceived discrimination—especially if they also happen to be members of a protected class such as race, sex or national origin. They may think they have to work harder and appear smarter than others. If they lose a plum assignment, that may be enough to spur a discrimination lawsuit. That’s one reason you should carefully document how you handle easily bruised egos …

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We all would like to believe harassment and discrimination can’t happen where we work. Of course, we’re dreaming if we do. Ordinary people sometimes fall back on old stereotypes or react strongly to newly perceived dangers by inappropriately striking out at a group or nationality. Fortunately for employers, isolated acts of harassment, if stopped dead in their tracks, won’t come back to haunt them years later …

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