Military Service as Basis for Discrimination

We frequently hear in the media about workplace discrimination based on gender, race, national origin, age, or disability, which is all too common. Most Americans, however, would be surprised to learn that thousands of workers are subjected to blatant and harmful discrimination each year purely because they are veterans or are currently serving in the Armed Forces – and that this discrimination harms our national security by discouraging participation in the National Guard and Reserve. Despite the widely publicized job skills that veterans and servicemembers provide, such as leadership, education, training, values, and teamwork experience, many civilian employers believe that their employees’ military duties are inconvenient to their businesses, and some believe that their employees should not be allowed to[…]


When the economy slows, companies run into difficulties, businesses scale back their workforce, and layoffs increase.  What do you do if you are facing one of these layoffs?  Many initial inquiries that I take in my office come from people recently or about to be laid off and inquiring about their rights. Before talking about your rights, here are the brutal statistics regarding recent layoffs in Texas: (Source: U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics). Texas companies took: 95 “mass layoff actions” involving 50 or more workers in December 2018 (twice as many as the same month in 2007). 64 mass layoffs in November 2018 86 mass layoffs in October 2018. Dallas County had the most anticipated layoffs of[…]

Yesterday we spoke about women within the civil rights movement, namely Rosa Parks are icons for women all around the globe in any era and any decade. The high-quality point in the series might be to celebrate as well as the contributions we make to improve our lives while contributing in a means for you to history. You maintain your balance sheet in the balance by making a balancing entry called Human Capital an individual include as part of owners’ money. This makes every employee a co-owner in the organization at an equivalent of their particular asset value – with 100 % free and without issuing provides. Paycheck Fairness Act For this generation especially, we’re raised I’m able to the[…]

The Human Resources function is typically responsible for the overall management of the new employee orientation process. The orientation process begins before a new employee’s first day and continues typically for the first two months. The following checklist outlines the responsibilities involved: EMPLOYEE ORIENTATION – HUMAN RESOURCES CHECKLIST Recruiting Kit: Deliver the following reading material to the prospective employee along with the letter of offer: Company Code of Conduct (including confirmation slip to be signed by employee) Benefit Summary Summary of Career Paths Standard marketing information (for business unit) General Information Form (contact and family information, etc.) Personal Tax Forms Payroll Direct Deposit Form New employee or change of bank account form Medical and dental enrolment forms Employment equity statement[…]

in Texas, a human resource handbook serves as a manual guide of all the rules, processes and policies applicable to your employee at the workplace. If your staff needs to know leave and time policies, it should be found in the Texas HR handbook. If your staff needs to know information about the bottom line of the company, it should be present in the HR handbook. If you need the medical staff’s number at their fingertips, it should also be listed in the HR handbook. Moreover, a human resource handbook should contain detailed information about the benefits that the company provides to its employees. Since most companies have different leave policies, the information must be reflected in the human resource[…]

What’s worse – hiring the wrong person or not hiring anyone at all? Companies can become almost desperate to hire someone, but filling a position with a “warm body” can be worse that leaving the position vacant. I once worked at a not-for-profit where a management position was vacant. The company was small, resources were limited, and they were having a very difficult time filling the position; they just couldn’t find the right person. Finally a gentleman was hired, but he only stayed a few weeks. He had taken the job even though he hadn’t really wanted it, and when another position came along, he took it. Ironically enough, he left right about the same time that his business cards[…]

What Makes an Independent Contractor not an Employee? How do you differentiate between an employee and an independent contractor? It’s a seemingly obvious answer, but in some cases the separation can become difficult. The classification can significantly change the type of contract between the two parties, as well as the tax structure, the type of insurance required and the benefits the worker may be entitled to. For employers, taxes and insurance are easier and more cost effective when hiring an independent contractor over an employee. However, if you are going to be a major contributor to the business, employee status offers greater benefits than working as an independent contractor. What is an independent contractor? An independent contractor is classified as[…]

In a recent decision, Chamberlain v. UCBR, the state Supreme Court determined that a man under house arrest is still eligible for unemployment compensation benefits. In this case, the claimant was found eligible to receive unemployment compensation benefits, but was subsequently sentenced to sixty days on house arrest for driving with a suspended license.  While on house arrest, the claimant was permitted to work, run errands and shop for Christmas.  However, as a result of the claimant’s house arrest, he was informed that his benefits were suspended. Under unemployment compensation law, a claimant is not eligible for unemployment compensation benefits for any weeks of unemployment where the claimant is incarcerated.  As a result, prior to this decision, as a matter of[…]

The Family Medical Leave Act is nothing new, and neither are the difficulties, issues and paperwork that comes with it.  Most likely, at one point or another, the FMLA has caused a problem for you and your company.  Maybe you had questions about paying an exempt employee when they take intermittent FMLA leave after using up all of their vacation and sick leave.  Or maybe you had a “difficult” employee take FMLA leave just as you were getting ready to terminate them, leading to questions about when and how to go about the termination (or maybe you just let them go and are currently looking down the barrel of a retaliation lawsuit). The FMLA forbids an employer from retaliating against[…]

A battle between Capital One and two of its former senior executives brings us “new” insight into the thorny issue of NON COMPETE AGREEMENTS and their enforceability.  As a Texas  employment law practitioner, I am sometimes faced with clients who have determined that their fully signed Non Compete Agreement cannot be enforceable based on the advice of friends and family in other states.  If they acted on that advice without checking further, these same clients may be bringing us a letter from their former employer stating that they are in violation of that Non Compete Agreement.  The Agreement may contain several restrictions for the former employee – including such categories as non-competition restrictions,  non-interference provisions, confidentiality provisions, protection of trade secret provisions and non-solicitation provisions  (with respect[…]

In the majority of states, employers are required to maintain workers compensation insurance (WC) for their employees.  In Texas, however, employers have the ability to “opt-out” of purchasing such coverage.  Several factors come into play in determining whether this option might be right for your business. First, companies that do business directly with the State of Texas or local governments are required to maintain workers compensation insurance, so if you fall into this category, you cannot operate as a ”non-subscriber” (the term used to describe those who do not carry WC). Many large companies also require that their vendors and contractors carry WC, so this may limit your practical ability to operate as a non-subscriber. If you are still in[…]

As practiced in Texas, the “at will” employment doctrine has been described as meaning that “employment may be terminated by the employer or the employee at will, for good cause, bad cause, or no cause at all.” Federal Express Corp. v. Dutschmannn, 846 S.W.2d 282, 283 (Tex. 1993).  The absolute nature of this statement holds true for the employee (slavery has been abolished) but the employer’s right to terminate is not as sweeping as it suggests. A more accurate statement of the law would be that an employer can terminate an employee for good cause, no cause, and some but not all bad causes. Texas At Will Employment As the phrase implies, “bad cause” means that the Texas employer has[…]

Workers compensation insurance provides medical and income benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries.  Unlike in most states, participation in workers compensation is optional for most private employers in Texas.  The major exception is that employers who contract with governmental entities are required to maintain workers’ compensation coverage for each employee working on the public project. Many clients or customers may also require that a company maintain workers compensation as condition of doing business with it. The major advantage of workers compensation coverage for the injured employee is that benefits are payable without regard to fault: in most circumstances, an employee can recover even if his or her own negligence caused or contributed to the injury.  The disadvantage (and corresponding[…]

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency responsible for enforcing federal laws relating to employment discrimination.  In most situations, employees are required to “exhaust administrative remedies” (i.e., file a complaint with the EEOC) before they can file suit against their employer. The EEOC refers to an employee complaint of discrimination as a “charge of discrimination” or simply a “charge” for short. The first thing to recognize when you receive notice of such a charge is that it does not mean that the EEOC is accusing you of anything or that federal government has filed “charges” against you in any way.  Every employee complaint is treated as a “charge” and the employer is always given notice of[…]

For private employers, the application of the  Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) depends on the number of individuals employed, both at a given location and overall.  The general rule is that the act applies to any employer with more than 50 employees but there is an exception for employees who work at location with less than 50 employees.  These employees are not covered even if the total number of employees for the business exceeds 50 and even though employees at larger locations are covered.  In order for this exception to be applicable, there must be a total of less than 50 employees within a 75-mile radius. The act is applicable to any employer who has the requisite 50 employees “each[…]

According to the Small Business Administration, “an employee handbook is the most important communication tool between you and your employees.”  The SBA also advises:  “An employee handbook should describe your legal obligations as an employer, and your employees’ rights.”  This sounds an awful lot like a contract and without careful drafting, an employer may end up creating an employment contract where none is intended. Let’s start with the basics.  Texas is an “at will” employment state.  This means that absent an agreement to the contrary, employment can be terminated at any time by either party, with or without cause and with or without advance notice. If you are like the majority of employers, you like the idea of being able[…]