The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

Judges sometimes use common sense. Take, for example, a recent case involving a woman who sued after her employer changed her days off so that she had to work six days straight.

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True independent contractors aren’t covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employees are. But sometimes it’s hard to tell who is a true independent contractor and who isn’t.

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The number of new unemployment benefits claims filed nationwide increased by 32,000 in late September, a spike at least partially attributable to layoffs that followed hurricanes Gustav and Ike. That brought total late September unemployment claims to 493,000.

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The EEOC has filed a lawsuit against a Sonic drive-in restaurant located in Kingwood, alleging that several female teen employees were subjected to sexual harassment.

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The EEOC recently filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against Time Insurance Agency of Austin, alleging pregnancy discrimination against a female job applicant.

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The EEOC has been busy this fall in Texas. The agency recently sued the Edgewater Retirement Community in Galveston for allegedly refusing to hire a 78-year-old job applicant.                        

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The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded the state of Texas a $15.8 million grant to help the Texas Workforce Commission with Hurricane Ike recovery efforts.

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Employers have the right to meet business needs by changing the jobs their employees do, and they can set the minimum qualifications for any new positions they create. It’s the company’s prerogative to then decide whether to replace existing employees with others who meet the requirements.

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You don’t have to ignore a sudden and shocking deterioration in an employee’s performance and behavior. You can and should ask for a fitness-for-duty exam. Just be prepared to discuss possible accommodations if it turns out the employee is disabled.

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De Maiz Tortilleria, a tortilla production company in Pharr, Texas, has agreed to pay $401,314 in back wages to 133 employees following a U.S. Department of Labor investigation looking into allegations it violated the FLSA …

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