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Public employees don’t lose their rights to free speech just because they work for a government agency. They retain the right to speak out on matters of public importance, and they can’t be punished for exercising that right. That’s why, if you work for the government, you should warn supervisors against any action that smacks of punishing employees for speaking out.
Texas employers have long been frustrated with the expense of defending against frivolous claims. Even when employers win a lawsuit, litigation can cost thousands in legal fees and lost productivity. Now at least some help is on the way. The Texas Legislature has passed the much-hyped “Loser Pays Law.”
A horrific accident that killed a worker in March 2011 has led to $186,300 in fines for Refuse Recycling, based in Marietta. Inspectors from OSHA were called to the plant after an employee was found dead inside a rotating drum that screens recyclables from other refuse.
While legal problems can crop up during an employee’s tenure, the two events that carry the most legal risk for employers are the hiring and the departure of an employee. Hiring discrimination lawsuits are particularly dangerous. To stay out of court, managers should build their hiring process around these principles: