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10 Workplace Investigation Mistakes to Avoid

Employers should conduct timely investigations when they receive complaints concerning safety, harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and ethics since various federal laws either provide employers a defense in lawsuits if they conduct investigations or require employers to conduct investigations.  In addition to any investigation, the employer must also take any action necessary to correct and stop the prohibited actions immediately.  Investigations should be handled properly in order to achieve a quick resolution and to avoid the potential for future litigation.  Here we review some common workplace investigation mistakes to avoid. No incident reporting System – Employees must have a way to report Read more
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Terminating an Employee in Texas

Terminating an employee from your company is never pleasant or easy and the termination process should not be taken lightly.  Your company should have procedures in place to provide employees ongoing feedback so they know what they are doing well and areas in which they can improve.  Employees that are not performing adequately should be given a chance to improve their performance and there should be a process in place that documents counseling sessions and/or disciplinary notices, steps the employee has taken to improve, the employee’s progress, and any final results. This article does not cover that process but instead Read more
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Workplace Dress Code and Grooming Policies

Workplace dress code and grooming policies can help a business maintain an appropriate image, ensure workplace safety, and foster an atmosphere of teamwork among employees.  However, employers must take care to avoid creating policies that are discriminatory. Below we review some important factors to consider when creating employee dress codes and grooming policies. No Discrimination It is important to remember that an employer’s policies must not discriminate on the basis of age, disability, gender, marriage, pregnancy, race, religion, sex or any other category protected under Federal or Texas state law. When drafting your company’s dress code and grooming policy, make Read more
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Severance Agreements for Texas Employers

Part of running a business is managing the employee separation process.  Managing this process can be just as important as managing employees’ day-to-day responsibilities.  When employees leave your organization, it is often advantageous for the exiting employee to sign a severance agreement.  An agreement that properly outlines the employer and employee’s expectations will save time, money and considerable headaches in the near and distant future. A severance agreement is a contract between an employer and employee that documents the rights and responsibilities of both parties at termination of employment and beyond.  Typically, a severance agreement gives the employee payment in Read more
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Employee Handbook Guidelines & Pitfalls

A thoughtfully constructed employee handbook lays the groundwork for a strong relationship between a company and its employees. It outlines the employer’s expectations and lets workers know what they can expect from the organization. When you’re preparing your company’s employee handbook, refer to this list for the types of items that should be included and pitfalls to be addressed and/or avoided. Always remember, though, that every handbook is different and your company’s policies and procedures, as well as its culture and its tolerance for risk will determine what is included within the handbook. What to include in your Employee Handbook Read more
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Department of Labor Audit Checklist: Wage & Hour Audit

Employers must comply with numerous Department of Labor (DOL) laws concerning employee wages and hours, workplace safety, family and medical leave, and special rights granted to military veterans in the workforce, among others. A DOL audit can focus on any area of employment law. The DOL has the right to audit employers at any time, so employers are wise to be prepared for scrutiny. In light of pending changes to Wage & Hour rules proposed in the Fair Labor Standards Act, we have put together a checklist to help you steer clear of trouble during a DOL Wage & Hour Read more
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Paul and Dustin to Speak at Frisco HR Summit

On Tuesday, March 29th, Paul and Dustin will be speaking at the 2017 Frisco Chamber of Commerce HR Summit.  The Summit is a partnership with DallasHR and will include a variety of presentations geared toward small business owners and Human Resources professionals.  Paul and Dustin will be presenting on “Sensitive Employee Relations.” The recent post in the firm’s Legal Blog highlighted a portion of what will be presented.  The presentation will focus on sensitive employee relations issues that HR professionals encounter, including ADA issues, personal hygiene, workplace relationships, and leave issues.  You can learn more about the Summit by visiting Read more
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The ADA and Mental Disabilities

We are in the process of preparing our “Sensitive Employee Relations” presentation for the upcoming Frisco HR Summit at the end of March, so we thought we would provide you a preview of that speech while also providing some valuable information regarding mental disabilities and mental health and their relation to the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Not only is mental health a very sensitive issue in the workplace but it can often be difficult to handle from a Human Resources perspective. Just as with other disabilities under the ADA, a mental disability is (a) any impairment that substantially limits one Read more
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Workplace Posters

We get a lot of questions about workplace posters from employers and this can often be a somewhat confusing area.  What posters you must display can be driven by the number of employees you have, the industry in which you operate, whether or not you have federal contracts, and a multitude of other factors.  The Department of Labor has created a great tool for determining what federal posters you must display.  You can access the tool here: http://webapps.dol.gov/elaws/posters.htm.  The tool is a step-by-step question process that is extremely easy to use.  At the end, the tool provides valuable information about Read more
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Dustin Paschal Published in Today’s CPA Magazine

If you are one of the more than 35,000 Texas CPAs who receive Today’s CPA Magazine, be sure to check out Dustin Paschal’s feature article in the January/February 2017 issue.  The article, entitled “The Fair Labor Standards Act’s One-Two Punch,” discusses the two major classification issues employers face under the FLSA – the exempt vs. non-exempt classification issue and the employee vs. independent contractor classification issue.  A snippet of the article also was included in our 4th Quarter 2016 firm newsletter, which is available on our website on the Newsletters page. Read more