The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

In uncertain economic times, employers sometimes have to cut staff and redraw org charts to stay competitive. Employees often know far in advance that change is coming—and that they may lose their jobs. And some already may be looking for ways to “get back” at their companies via lawsuits …

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LA Weight Loss, which was renamed Pure Weight Loss in 2007, has settled a lawsuit filed against it by the EEOC. The agency had alleged a nationwide pattern and practice of sex discrimination at locations across the country …

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When jurors hear that a company has a clear set of disciplinary rules but made an exception in the case of someone who just filed an EEOC or internal discrimination claim, they may jump to the conclusion retaliation occurred.

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Here’s a problem you might never see coming: A supervisor who harbors resentment against a subordinate because of her protected classification decides to hold her to the letter of the law when it comes to a benefit such as FMLA leave. Meanwhile, other employees get preferential treatment, such as additional unpaid leave after their FMLA leave expires …

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Employers that post job openings and then track the response they get to their advertisements will discourage frivolous lawsuits. Would-be applicants can’t say they tried to apply or were discouraged from doing so because of discrimination if the company can show how it routinely handles all job openings and applications.

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You never know which employee is going to sue you over a lost promotion, poor evaluation or other perceived slight. That’s why you should always keep careful track of all work deficiencies and document what role they played in every employment decision.

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A federal jury recently found that the Beaumont Police Department discriminated against a police officer because of her gender. The jury awarded $150,000 to Officer Tina Lewallen, who sued the department for gender discrimination in 2005 …

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Members of three unions recently ratified a new three-year contract with Lufkin Industries. The agreement will give 1,200 workers at five Texas plants wage increases totaling 11% over the term of the contract.

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The University of Texas at Austin has released a study showing large gaps in pay, promotions and representation between male and female professors in the university’s academic departments.

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Smart employers make sure their employees know the rules by providing information several ways.

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