The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Page 96
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The HR Specialist: Texas Employment Law

Employees who complain about alleged discrimination by a supervisor can set up a retaliation claim if they are disciplined or otherwise punished shortly after complaining. Relying solely on the say-so of the boss the employee initially complained about may cause trouble if that supervisor’s reasons are flimsy.

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Sometimes, employers have to fire employees—even those who have recently filed successful discrimination complaints. Don’t be afraid to do so. You can beat a bogus retaliation claim by making sure you have good, solid documentation to substantiate the firing.

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An Alice-based oil field services company has settled a reverse race discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC. The commission filed the suit in 2008 on behalf of Bert Yaklin, a white parts-department employee of Coil Tubing Services, which supports the petroleum industry in Texas and Louisiana.

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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recently announced that MT Supermarket, an Austin grocery store, has paid $186,624 in back wages to 34 workers. The payment comes after an investigation of the Asian grocery store found violations of the FLSA.

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On Sept. 4, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that a San Angelo geological services company has paid $270,950 in overtime back wages to 70 current and former employees. According to Cynthia Watson, the Wage and Hour Division’s Southwest regional administrator, “Some employees worked as many as 85 hours in a workweek without receiving overtime wages.”

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Employers that round off the time on employees’ time sheets must do so in a way that doesn’t cheat hourly employees out of pay in the long run. That means that if you round down, you must also round up. Otherwise, your time records won’t reflect all hours worked, leading to potential violations of overtime and other wage-and-hour laws.

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It’s frustrating when an employee continually claims to be the victim of discrimination while internal investigations show that just isn’t so. If an employer is confident the employee’s charges are false, it can terminate the employee. That’s true even if you turn out to be wrong—because what matters is your good-faith belief that the employee made up the discrimination claims.

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The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, signed into law on Feb. 17, 2009, was designed to advance the use of health information technology, such as electronic health records. Among other important aspects, the HITECH Act expands the scope and enforcement power of HIPAA, with greater penalties for noncompliance.

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The EEOC recently filed a lawsuit against a San Antonio apartment management company for discriminating against an employee after he hired a black worker.

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At some point, a former employee will sue your organization for discrimination. The typical argument: Someone not in the same protected class as the employee was treated more leniently. How will you show that’s not true?

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