Employment Law

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Q. How does the Illinois Religious Freedom Pro­­tec­­tion and Civil Union Act affect health benefits?
Printing company SpeQtrum Pre­­press Production Services faces 14 serious safety and health violations and one other-than-serious violation following an OSHA inspection of its facility in Euless. Proposed penalties add up to $44,800.
Mount Carroll-based Haasbach LLC has resolved 25 OSHA citations stemming from the deaths of two young workers at its grain bin facility.
The Indian Beach-Salter Path Fire Department faces $10,838 in fines after state OSHA inspectors learned that firefighters had removed 120 ceiling tiles that contained asbestos from a mobile home a citizen had donated for use in the department’s training program.
Austin-based information technology firm HBMG and its president, Manuel Zarate, have agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging the company failed to transfer employee retirement fund contributions into its 401(k) program.
Here’s a tip that doesn’t cost anything to implement and may prevent a lawsuit: When employees return from an illness, medical leave or other absences, make them feel welcome—and don’t publicly focus on any lingering problems.
It’s complicated to determine who is an independent contractor and who is an employee. Someone you consider a contractor may turn out to be an employee under the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA)—and the TCHRA may cover you if those contractors turn out to be employees.
If you engage independent contractors, you may include a “choice of law” clause in your contracts, designating which state’s laws will apply should a dispute arise. But that doesn’t mean courts will always agree to the jurisdiction you prefer.
Employees and their lawyers are always looking for new reasons to sue. Lately, there’s been an in­­crease in efforts to cast terminations as public-policy violations.
Q. We are selling our small business (15 employees). The company buying us won’t be hiring our staff. How many days’ notice is required to notify our employees? Will our employees qualify for unemployment benefits?