Michael Fox

Q. I am the owner of several industrial facilities, but recent financial crises have forced me to have to shut down two of these plants. These closings and subsequent layoffs will affect about 600 employees. Am I re­­quired to notify the employees before laying them off?

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Q. An employee recently filed suit claiming race discrimination. What kinds of damages can he sue for, and what compensation could he receive?

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Q. Jim has been a security guard for my company for over 20 years, and has always performed his duties without problem. Since his 60th birthday a few years ago, however, Jim has become steadily less able to walk the required distances during his rounds, and has also been forgetting crucial requirements of his position. Am I allowed to discharge him?

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Q. The vice president of my company, whom I appointed, is really a nice guy, but he has propositioned many of the female employees on multiple occasions for sexual acts in his office. He has a great attitude towards the female employees who agree, but those who refuse have been recently discharged without my consent. Is this sexual harassment?

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Q. Our company is going to lay off several employees. Are we required to provide severance pay to those employees? If we provide severance pay, can we demand that employees sign a severance agreement stating that they will not sue the company?

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Q. Our company is planning to move an executive from one our overseas divisions to head an important short-term project here in the United States. What type of visa will he need? Any immigration basics you can provide would be helpful.

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Q. We heard that the president recently took action on whether employees are permitted to discuss compensation. Are there any new requirements on employers with regard to these kinds of conversations?

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Q. One of our employees is complaining of “stress and anxiety.” Is that enough to put us on notice of a serious health condition under the FMLA?

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Q. We have several positions in our company that require financial discretion. May we perform background checks on applicants for these jobs?

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Q. Under Texas law, if I have an employee returning from maternity leave, do I have to give her the same job hours as before her leave? The reason for the reduction in hours is due to sales being down.

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