The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

Employees who are promised they can take “FMLA leave” may have a claim against an employer even if it turns out the company isn’t required to comply with the FMLA because it has fewer than 50 employees. Employees can argue that the employer misled them, and that the company should therefore be required to comply with the FMLA.

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Employees who return from FMLA-covered maternity leave are supposed to come back to the same or a substantially equivalent position. Don’t make the mistake of offering a position that has the same title and pay, but which involves very different duties. That’s especially true if those duties are more onerous for a new mother.

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Employees who think they are victims of some form of discrimination must show they were treated differently in some important way because of their race or other protected characteristic. But minor annoyances—such as heavier workloads—are not usually considered discrimination.

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Sometimes, you have to trust that your lawyer and the courts will do the right thing and toss out a clearly frivolous case. As long as you are sure that you have solid reasons for firing an employee who wasn’t doing her job—and that you didn’t treat her any differently than any other employee with the same track record—fire her.

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The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected an invitation to expand the number of cases that fall under Title VII’s retaliation provision. It recently ruled that someone who reports an OSHA violation couldn’t charge that he or she was retaliated against by filing a Title VII retaliation lawsuit.

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The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that Texas will receive a $5 million grant to help respond to military base realignment and closures.

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New FMLA regulations go into effect on Jan. 16. Employers must become familiar with these changes and adjust their policies accordingly. Here’s a summary of some of the most important changes to the FMLA.

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JVA Insulation Inc. of Houston has agreed to pay $203,640 in back wages to 53 insulation installers who claimed the company had failed to pay them overtime. The DOL found that the company violated the FLSA by paying its employees on a piece-rate basis for all hours worked …

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An association representing University of Texas faculty members recently filed a lawsuit against university officials on behalf of UT Medical Branch employees, challenging the legitimacy of the decision to lay off 3,800 employees in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike.

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Avis Budget Group has announced that it plans to close a call center in Wichita Falls, in addition to a claims processing facility in Orlando, Fla., as part of its efforts to cut 2,200 jobs worldwide.

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