The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

Q. I recently received a memo signed by all four employees in one department asking for 5% raises. Can I have a meeting with them to let them know that there is no money for raises, that their department could easily be eliminated and that they would be smarter just to keep a low profile and do their jobs? …

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Q. Must a Texas employer pay its interns? …

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A nation embroiled in war tends to be jittery and tempers run high. When anger and emotion seep into the workplace, things can get ugly. That’s why it’s important to remind everyone that you won’t tolerate comments, gags or jokes aimed at employees who may share ethnicity, religion or national origins with the “enemy” …

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Sometimes, employees who think they have been discriminated against—and their attorneys—try novel approaches to make a claim. One of these is the so-called disability-plus claim, whereby the attorney tries to show that the employer discriminated against his disabled client by treating her worse than other disabled employees of another sex or race. But as the following case shows, disability-plus discrimination claims won’t always fly in Texas …

 

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Nothing generates paper like the hiring process, especially if it involves multiple interviews and committee meetings. What do you do with all that paper? If you destroy it, be prepared to show you do so routinely. Otherwise, a jury or judge may view the destruction as evidence you have something to hide …

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Is your organization going through a transition period marked by discharges and new hires? If so, take a quick look at your pre- and post-transition work force composition. If the diversity of your work force has changed dramatically, you may need to consider the possibility of a federal lawsuit hitting you next. If this sounds familiar, rethink your strategy before it’s too late …

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In EEOC hearings, employers get a chance to defend their actions, and the agency often concludes that the employer did no wrong. But what about instances when the agency sides with the employee? Should you immediately accept defeat and settle the case? Not if you’re settling because you’re worried that the EEOC decision might become part of a federal lawsuit …

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Employers have the burden of proving that exempt employees meet one of the exemptions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). That means you must be prepared to show that the actual job the employee performs meets an exemption. Regular performance appraisals provide a convenient and effective way to do that …

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When it comes to accommodating religious practices, employers aren’t required to be clairvoyant. If an employee wants you to accommodate a religious practice or objects to a work rule because it interferes with his or her right to practice religion, the employee has to let you know how practicing the religion precludes following the rule …

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You’ve just created a new position and a job description to go with it. That description includes essential job functions, as well as education and training requirements. Now you want to create a skills test to make sure applicants can do the job. Not so fast! Before you have the first applicant take the test, double-check that your test measures the attributes related to the essential functions you specified in the job description …

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