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The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

Alliance Rental Centers recently agreed to pay $21,500 to settle an EEOC religious discrimination suit brought by a former employee whose religious beliefs kept him from complying with the company’s dress code. The conflict emerged when Tyler Templeton, who worked in the company’s Bridgeport Aaron’s Rents store, refused to participate in the “Red Shirt Friday” program in which employees wore special shirts to show support for the U.S. military.

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What should you do if an employee becomes disabled and can’t perform the essential functions of his job under any circumstances? The employee may be entitled to a transfer to another position—if one is open and the employee is actually qualified for the position. But you don’t have to move employees around to create an opening.

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Employees who are transferred to other positions after complaining about discrimination could end up collecting big from their employers. That’s true even if the transfer doesn’t result in a base pay cut or lost benefits. Reason: The law lets juries punish employers for retaliation based on factors such as lost prestige, overtime pay and other, less tangible benefits.

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Employers sometimes try to avoid taking sides when they learn of possible sexual harassment out of fear that one of the employees involved will sue. Then the situation escalates, and they end up in court anyway. The only realistic employer response: Be prepared to make tough decisions. Investigate the claim.

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Employers that change their disability or other benefit plans know to inform their employees about those changes. But what about employees on military leave? Make sure they get notice, too.

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Texas nursing home employees who report alleged patient abuse to state authorities are protected from retaliation under the Texas Health and Safety Code—but only if they formally report the problem.

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A former employee is suing Mike Smith Autoplex and Group 1 Automotive, claiming he was forced to resign from the Beaumont car dealer because of his race.

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The U.S. Department of Labor has announced that Cobra Stone will pay its quarry workers $364,403 in overtime back wages. The Florence-based company, which produces natural stone for construction projects, will pay the back wages to 169 current and former employees.

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The U.S. Department of Labor has announced that Cobra Stone will pay its quarry workers $364,403 in overtime back wages. The Florence-based company, which produces natural stone for construction projects, will pay the back wages to 169 current and former employees.

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Most employers know they aren’t allowed to destroy evidence (including e-mail, other electronic communications and records) when a lawsuit is imminent. But what about when an employee who is about to sue the employer destroys evidence? Employers can use that destruction to their advantage in a lawsuit.

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