The former director of public information at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is suing the agency after she was demoted and subsequently resigned. She says her demotion was retaliation for blowing the whistle on internal violations of state law and policy.
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Q. We recently fired an employee who worked in our office. Several weeks later, our HR department received a phone call from the man demanding a copy of his personnel file. Are we required to send him a copy?
You never know which terminated employee will sue or for what. That’s why you should treat every layoff as a potential lawsuit. Defend yourself by doing all you can to help employees who may lose their jobs find other opportunities within the company.
Q. We are considering holding, off-site at a park, a “Company Olympics” event featuring sports such as softball and tennis. If an employee were to be injured while participating, would that be considered a workers’ compensation-covered injury? Would it matter if participation was voluntary?
Q. A couple of weeks ago, an employee came into work smelling like alcohol. His supervisor later reported that day that the employee “acted drunk” in a staff meeting. Yesterday, one of the same employee’s co-workers indicated that the employee came back from lunch “smelling like marijuana.” Can these reports justify requiring the employee to undergo a drug or alcohol test?
Some employers favor arbitration agreements as a way to cut down on expensive and time-consuming litigation and avoid rogue juries that often sympathize more with workers than big, bad employers. But the reality is that arbitration agreements often cause more litigation, not less.