The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

In response to damage caused by Hurricane Ike, the IRS, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation have issued a federal notice allowing leeway for compliance with employee benefits plan requirements.

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You’d think terminating someone for obviously gross misconduct and behavior that was simply unacceptable would be a slam-dunk. No chance such an employee could bring a lawsuit, right? Wrong. There’s always the potential for a discrimination suit …

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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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