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The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

In the era of #MeToo and #TimesUp, the Texas Supreme Court just refused to broadly define sexual harassment in the workplace. Instead, the court found that generalized harassment at work—even if it’s morally reprehensible—doesn’t necessarily violate the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act.

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Take note if you have rules against speaking languages other than English at work: That could constitute race discrimination under Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866.

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Ever thought you might be able to skirt the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime provisions by arranging for related entities to “share” the same employees? Courts aren’t likely to buy the arrangement.

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Signature Industrial Services, a refinery services company in Beaumont, faces an EEOC lawsuit after it fired three brothers, allegedly because they have hemophilia.

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A federal court has refused to overturn earlier decisions holding that, in Texas, state agencies are exempt from the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

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When hiring or promoting from within, make sure you document why the chosen candidate is better qualified than others.

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When it comes to disciplining employees, details make a big difference. Be sure you include enough information in your investigation reports so you can later explain, for example, why one employee deserved harsher punishment than another who made a similar mistake.

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If you find you have to pay more to fill open positions than incumbent employees are currently making, be ready with a good explanation for why new hires command bigger paychecks than staff members who were hired years earlier.

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A federal court hearing an anti-gay discrimination case in Texas has avoided ruling on whether sexual orientation discrimination is sex discrimination under Title VII. It did so by concluding that the employee didn’t show she had actually experienced sex discrimination.

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There’s a simple way to prevent lawsuits over missed promotions. Post all internal opportunities and encourage all employees to apply. If you don’t, workers may sue, alleging that the real reason they were denied a promotion was because of some kind of illegal discrimination.

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A school counselor who sued because she thought discrimination had cost her a promotion has lost her appeal. Being turned down wasn’t an adverse employment action. And when there’s no adverse action, there can be no discrimination.

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Treat all employees impartially and you’ll rarely end up on the losing end of a discrimination lawsuit.

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A worker who was seriously injured while driving to mandatory training is eligible for workers’ compensation.

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Employees who take FMLA leave are not immune to discipline discovered while they are out on FMLA leave or after they return to work.

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A federal court considering an overtime dispute recently dismissed the lawsuit because it didn’t include enough details—but then told the workers they could file an amended complaint addressing the deficiencies.

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Employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for a worker’s religious practices, including letting workers skip shifts for religious holidays. But it is up to the worker to actually request the accommodation. Missing a shift without asking can be grounds for discharge.

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Lowe’s Home Centers has agreed to pay $55,000 to settle charges it violated the ADA when it demoted a supervisor at its store in Cleburne, Texas.

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A federal court has vacated a portion of the EEOC’s wellness program regulations, effective Jan. 1, 2019.

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While motivation for this new provision was a well-intentioned nod to the #MeToo movement, it may have unforeseen consequences. 

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Workers have just 300 days following an alleged violation to file an EEOC complaint claiming ADA disability discrimination. The clock starts ticking when the reasonable accommodation the employee requested is turned down, even if the employer then provided a different accommodation instead of the requested one.

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